HC Deb 05 February 1957 vol 564 cc237-8
45. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that the economics and politics of the fishing in- dustry have become so complicated, detailed and extensive in home, foreign and colonial affairs that they need the whole-time attention of a Minister of Cabinet rank devoted solely to these problems unfettered by problems relating to other forms of food and to agriculture; that other realms in the Commonwealth and certain foreign countries have a Minister devoted solely to such problems; and if he will now take steps to have such a Minister appointed in Britain.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

I recognise the great importance of the fishing industry. But I believe that the interests of this large industry are best served by the present administrative arrangements.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the Prime Minister realise that in connection with the fishing industry today the work of the Minister involves the negotiation of international fisheries conventions, attendance at international conventions and the making of authoritative pronouncements, which demand that the Minister should be a whole-time Minister of Cabinet rank? Will he reconsider this matter?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I think this is really the best plan. In each Department concerned, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Scottish Office, one Parliamentary Under-Secretary has special authority for the fishing industry. There are many important industries, and it would be a mistake to have a separate Cabinet Minister for each industry.

Mr. Gaitskell

In view of the fact that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has so little to occupy his time and to justify his salary, would the Prime Minister consider appointing him in charge of the fishing industry?

Hon. Members


Mr. John Hall

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is no real demand from the fishing industry for a separate Minister?