HC Deb 23 March 1967 vol 743 c1891
2. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs how many Dorset candidates, apart from the nomination of the county council, were considered for membership of the South-West Economic Development Council and rejected.

Mr. M. Stewart

Members of the regional economic planning councils are not selected on a county basis.

Mr. Digby

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Dorset is not a mere adjunct of the counties to the west and north and has many special affinities with the southern counties? Is he further aware that there is resentment, not only in Dorset but in other counties, about these important appointments and doubt as to whether they are really democratic?

Mr. Stewart

We have a great many nominations for these appointments and we have to make what seems to be the wisest selection. It would be invidious to start giving reasons why some people were selected and others inevitably were not. I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that if we started out by saying that we must select from counties proportionately to population we should not get the best kind of council.