INTRODUCTION: The British Prime Minister, Mr James Callaghan, and other senior Labour government members are continuing their talks with the Liberal and Ulster Unionist parties in efforts to ensure their support for the government against a no-confidence motion in the House of Commons on Wednesday (23 March).
MVs AND CUs Prime Minister James Callaghan answering questions at Ten Downing Street (9 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 1: BOUGH: "What are you having to do to win that vote of confidence tomorrow night and ensure the continuance of the government?"
CALLAGHAN: "Well, I want to see the government continue because I take the view we're only half-way through the job that we started on, and therefore if I can find collaboration with any other parties in the House, then I'm willing to do that naturally on the basis that preserves both our self-respect and their self-respect. I'm not going to ask them to do anything that I wouldn't want to do myself. Whether we can do it or not, I'm not quite sure. If we can't then there will have to be a general election which in many ways I would regret, not because I'm particularly frightened of general elections, that's when the people speak, but because I think our policies have not yet been tested to the full. We have embarked upon an economic policy that in my judgement gives us the best possible chance of emerging. Its unpopular, I understand that. We can lose elections very easily. I would regret it not just for our sake, but because I believe Britain's got the best chance ever. Therefore I'm willing to perhaps put aside what would be the prejudices I had as a young man and to see whether we can get support basically for that kind of policy."
McKENZIE: "And do you think you can carry, especially your left wing, a powerful bloc of 60-70 MPs in that point of view?"
CALLAGHAN: "Well, this is, I suppose, part of my job as party leader. Its no use me being general of an army which doesn't follow me, is it. On the other hand, I have to say to those who've entrusted me with this responsibility, look you did entrust me with it, I hope you will trust me to ensure that I don't break the basic tenets and beliefs of the party."
BOUGH: "Of course, if you win tomorrow night, you're still a minority government and the issue is still going to keep on cropping up, isn't it?"
CALLAGHAN: "Yes, may I interrupt you, I don't think any of the people I'm talking to now are interested in just what happens tomorrow night. I think all of us are interested in doing something that would last for a much long period."
BOUGH: "But the Liberals for example want just that, don't they. They want regular consultation as part of their deal. Would you be prepared to give them that on a formal basis?"
CALLAGHAN: "Well, do you mind if I don't go into that sort of thing now. I think this is really a rather delicate moment to be discussing it."
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The government needs to defeat the no-confidence motion put forward by the Conservative Party opposition to remain in office. If it is defeated, it will be forced to resign and hold a general election.
REPORTERS: FRANK BOUGH AND ROBERT McKENZIE
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The British Prime Minister, Mr James Callaghan, and other senior Labour government members are continuing their talks with the Liberal and Ulster Unionist parties in efforts to ensure their support for the government against a no-confidence motion in the House of Commons on Wednesday (23 March). Mr. Callaghan has had several talks with Liberal leader, Mr David Steel, in attempts to gain Liberal support against the no-confidence motion. As part of their price for aiding the government, the Liberals want formal consultation with the government on proposed legislation. Mr Callaghan spoke to Frank Bough and Report McKenzie of the BBC's Nationwide programme about the government's search for support.