HC Deb 15 May 1961 vol 640 c896
3. Mr. Neal

asked the Minister of Power what proposals he has received from the Gas Council regarding the importation of liquid methane.

Mr. Wood

None, Sir.

Mr. Neal

I am surprised to hear that Answer. Will the Minister guarantee, in view of the heavy blow that these proposals are likely to inflict on the coal industry, that before any irrevocable step is taken we shall have the opportunity of debating the proposals in this House?

Mr. Wood

No, Sir. I should like to make the position quite clear. I have said before that the position of the coal industry would obviously be one of the most important factors that I would take into consideration. I intend, when I receive the proposals, which I have not yet done, to consider them and to reach a decision, and, in view of the interest which the House has taken in this matter, I have given an undertaking that I will make a statement in order to acquaint the House before the decision is actually announced. It is my decision; I must reach it myself.

Mr. Kershaw

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the paramount importance to British industry of having the cheapest possible supply of power which is available?

Mr. Wood

I will remember that.

Mr. Gunter

In view of the fact that the Minister told us on Monday last that it would be only a few days before he had the report of the Gas Council, how much longer does he think he will have to wait?

Mr. Wood

I think another few days.