BUSINESS QUESTION – ITALIAN CAMPAIGN – 11 March 2004

Dr Julian Lewis: May I take the opportunity to thank the Leader of the House for the help that he gave those of us who asked a few weeks ago whether Her Majesty the Queen and the Prime Minister would go to Normandy to attend the 60th anniversary of D-Day? I ask him to work the same magic for 4 June – two days before the D-day events – when celebrations in Rome will mark its liberation. That was one of the culminating points of the Italian campaign, which cost 45,000 British, Commonwealth and allied lives. Would not it be a wonderful gesture if, on their way to Normandy, the Prime Minister and Her Majesty showed that the people who were fighting to free Europe, even a year before D-Day, had not been forgotten?

[The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Peter Hain): The hon. Gentleman's point is well made and I am grateful for his comments. I am not sure whether any magic was weaved on my part in respect of the decision, but the Prime Minister's office will have taken note of his comments and important point about 4 June.]