HC Deb 14 February 1967 vol 741 cc342-3
Q7. Mr. Ridley

asked the Prime Minister which Minister is responsible for conducting negotiations with the European Coal and Steel Comunity.

The Prime Minister

If, as I assume, the hon. Member is referring to possible future negotiations, the question does not yet arise.

Mr. Ridley

Will the Prime Minister give an assurance that the present Minister of Power will not conduct these negotiations? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Minister of Power consistently refused to make any concessions which might have altered the Steel Bill to make it acceptable to the signatories of the Treaty of Rome?

The Prime Minister

I give an assurance that when the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends begin to address themselves for the first time in two years to matters of policy and not petty sniping at personalities I shall listen to him and some of his hon. Friends.

Mr. Barber

Will the Prime Minister recognise that the points which we put to the Minister of Power in those debates and which were turned down were based on advice which we received from the headquarters of the European Coal and Steel Community?

The Prime Minister

It is not for me to inquire where the right hon. Gentleman gets his briefs from. Some of us, in all these matters, including negotiations with Europe, like to feel that we are speaking for Britain and not necessarily for the European Coal and Steel Community. The Amendments which were put down by the right hon. Gentleman and not accepted were rejected by the House as a whole.