HC Deb 25 July 1955 vol 544 cc802-3
Mr. Edward Evans

On a point of order. I apologise, Mr. Speaker, for raising this matter, but last week I put down a Question to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food about the increased cost of coal to the white fish industry and I asked him in a supplementary question whether if he could give us a similar assurance about the herring fishing industry. The Minister suggested that I should put a Question down, and I did so, naturally, to the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is responsible for the herring fishing industry. I was informed last week that the Question had been transferred to the right hon. Gentleman, and I see that it is on the Paper for tomorrow as No. 131, so that there is no hope that it will be orally answered.

This is a rather serious matter, because it affects the whole of the herring fishing industry. The drifters are working their way down the East Coast, and in October, before the House reassembles, the great East Anglian herring fishery will be in full activity. The owners of drifters, especially of coal-burning vessels, are very concerned about their increased costs. I am asking if it would be possible for the Minister or the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to make a statement on this subject after Questions.

Mr. Speaker

Not today, anyhow. I was quite unaware of the facts that the hon. Member has narrated to me. I am sorry for him in the predicament in which he finds himself, but it has nothing to do with me. There is no Question on the Paper about that today. I do not know about tomorrow.

Mr. Fell

Is it not a little unusual for a Question to be transferred in that manner? Perhaps I am unaware of the procedure—

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

The hon. Member is.

Mr. Fell

Due modesty is not a bad trait. Is it not a little unusual for a Question to be transferred in that way, especially as there are only 17 Questions to my right hon. Friend today, whereas the hon. Member's Question is No. 131 tomorrow?

Mr. Speaker

I am sorry, but I cannot do anything about it. It has nothing to do with me.

Mr. Evans

Further to the point of order. Can the Minister make a statement today or tomorrow?

Mr. Speaker

It is not a question of order, whether he can or not. The Minister, no doubt, has heard what has been said. It is not a matter for me, and it is not a point of order.

Dame Irene Ward

Ring up the Minister.