HC Deb 09 December 1970 vol 808 cc411-2
36. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will move to set up a Select Committee to examine British policy in the Indian Ocean islands.

Mr. Whitelaw

No, Sir.

Mr. Dalyell

As cat and mouse semantics at Prime Minister's Question Time are a mutually unsatisfactory way of discovering the truth about the Government's plans for Indian Ocean bases, is there not a serious case for a Select Committee on Defence, which has been urged by some of the Lord President's hon. Friends and, indeed, for crisp ad hoc subcommittees which could clear up mysteries about Indian Ocean bases?

Mr. Whitelaw

Whilst not accepting that there is any mystery in this case, I have made perfectly clear the basis on which I think that the House would be wise to proceed as regards Select Committees. That is the basis on which we are proceeding. I think that it is right to proceed on that basis at this stage.

Mr. David James

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that there is considerable anxiety on the score of world wildlife preservation in any Indian Ocean proposal.

Mr. Whitelaw

I am sure that is something I ought to know about but do not.