PMQs today – Prime Ministers Question Time – the most watched 30 minutes of the House of Commons where MPs are able to question the PM on any topic.
Mr Tom Watson (West Bromwich East) (Lab):
On his Amritsar inquiry, instead of ordering the civil servant to investigate, why does the Prime Minister not just ask Lords Geoffrey Howe and Leon Brittan what they agreed with Margaret Thatcher and whether it had anything to do with the Westland helicopter deal at the time?
The Prime Minister:
I fear that the hon. Gentleman might have gone a conspiracy theory too fast on this one. Look, it is very important that we get to the bottom of what happened, and that is why I have asked the Cabinet Secretary to lead this review. He will establish this urgently and establish the facts. The process is under way. I want it to be fast; I want it to find out the truth; and the findings will be made public.
I remember and will never forget my visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. It is one of the most beautiful and serene places anywhere on this planet, and what happened at Amritsar 30 years ago led to a tragic loss of life. It remains a source of deep pain to Sikhs everywhere. Prime Minister Singh, in my view, was absolutely right to apologise for what has happened, and I completely understand the concerns that these papers raise, so let us wait for the outcome of the review by Sir Jeremy Heywood.
I do not want to prejudge the outcome, but I would note that, so far, it has not found any evidence to contradict the insistence by senior Indian army commanders responsible at the time that, on the responsibility for this, it was planned and carried out solely by the Indian army. It is important to put that, but we do need an inquiry, so that we can get to the bottom of this.