IN A WEEK when the World Development Movement has strongly criticised the Government's rejection of much of the Brandt Commission report, a Catholic parish in London has persuaded its MP to raise the issue in the House of Commons. Mr Laurie Pavitt, Labour NIP for Brent South, met 20 members of Our lady of Willesden parish, North London. on July 9 at the House of Commons. Led by Fr Anton Cowan, the parish's Peace Group talked with Mr Pavitt for more than an hour and a half. They expressed themselves in favour of action to implement the Brandt Report, "North / South — a programme for survival", which suggests positive solutions to the problems of poverty and starvation in the "Third World. The group submitted a paper to Mr Pavia which, opposed the siting of Cruise missiles in Britain, and the increase of expenditure on armaments at a time of cutbacks in social services, housing and hospitals. In one of their points for discussion at national level, the group said: "If the present situation of defence expenditure continues at the present rate and other sectors are cut back at the same rate, the logical conclusion is civil war at some stage. The present Government would appear to he inviting this situation to happen." The group also drew attention at local level to the dangers of nuclear waste being transported by rail through Willesden.
Mr Pavitt expressed agreement with many of the group's points. He also agreed to present a-petition on the Brandt Report on the floor of the House of Commons. Fr Cowan said the petition asked that Britain "take the lead in negotiations with the countries of North / South to scale down and eventually remove all weapons, nuclear and chemical, and at the same time negotiate with those countries fur the survival of the world by providing the necessary trade, aid, trust and other links to guarantee this survival."
The World Development Movement says it is "appalled and dismayed" by the Government's rejection of all the main elements of the Brandt Commission's report." The Government had answered Brandt's "bold initiatives" to solve world poverty and economic recession with a "business as usual" attitude.