HC Deb 10 December 1963 vol 686 cc213-4
Q4. Mr. Loughlin

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint a separate Minister for the Fishing Industry

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I consider that the interests of the fishing industry are best served by the present arrangements.

Mr. Loughlin

Whilst I do not want to imply any criticism of the present Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the fishing industry has an enormous number of problems at present and that it is very disturbed? If he cannot appoint a separate Minister for the industry, would it not be possible for him to arrange for one of the Parliamentary Secretaries to the Ministry to devote himself whole-time to fisheries?

The Prime Minister

I know the hon. Member's interest in this. I, too, am interested in the fishing industry. As Foreign Secretary I conducted the negotiations with Iceland. I think that the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Foreign Secretary are a very good team to conduct negotiations about fishing.

Mr. Ridley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is the sixth new Ministry which hon. Membersopposite wish to create? Has he formed any estimate of the cost of this further extension?

Mr. Hector Hughes

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the suggestion in my hon. Friend's question is of added importance in view of the failure of the fisheries conference last week? Will he, therefore, reconsider his Answer?

The Prime Minister

I have no evidence—and I do not know what evidence the hon. and learned Member can have—that the conference has failed. I have no desire to multiply Ministries. I think that under present arrangements we can deal with the fishing industry's problems adequately.