Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): As many UKIP voters fear that the Bilderberg group is a plot to promote more unaccountable European government, can my right hon. and learned Friend give them any reassurance or suggest why they might be wrong in that thought?
The Minister without Portfolio (Mr Kenneth Clarke): Nowadays we get accused of plots to establish a Government of the world, to poison the local watercourses, and to plan an invasion of the United States of America. Ten years ago, I was told I was attending a plot to hand over Britain to Brussels and to subordinate us to a “United States of Europe”, and the next instalment of the plot will come later. I cite that example in order to point out that a fellow member of the steering committee was Mr Conrad Black, and in private, as in public, Mr Conrad Black was not in favour of handing anything over to Brussels and was not in any way furthering that cause. I regret to say that Mr Black is, as I recall, the only member who ever attended who has since had the misfortune to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, whereupon he withdrew from the Bilderberg meetings.
Seriously, however, I assure my right hon. Friend that the full range of opinion from left to right from across western Europe is pretty well represented at Bilderberg. That in itself shows that the idea that we are furthering any kind of agenda is absolute nonsense. If I were plotting to do anything, I would not assemble that particular group of people, because we would never agree on an objective.