HC Deb 14 July 1970 vol 803 cc1363-5
Q7. Mr. Elystan Morgan

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has to give the Welsh people a greater say in their own affairs on the same basis as his plans for Scotland.

The Prime Minister

I have nothing at present to add to what was said in the Gracious Speech.

Mr. Morgan

Does not the Prime Minister agree that if the case for Scottish devolution rests on nationhood, an equally strong and reputable case must be made out for Wales? Will he give an undertaking that in this respect he will treat both these countries on a basis of absolute equality?

The Prime Minister

I agree with the first part of the hon. Gentleman's statement, but as to the second part I should have thought that what was required was a structure best suited to each country and, as the hon. Gentleman well knows, the countries have differences of background.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Will not my right hon. Friend agree that it is, perhaps, time that the English people had some share in deciding their own affairs?

The Prime Minister

I understand that Lord Crowther's Commission is bearing that point in mind.

Mr. Grimond

Can the Prime Minister say whether the constitutional proposals for Scotland referred to in the Gracious Speech will be implemented in the present Session of Parliament?

The Prime Minister

They must follow upon action on the reform of local government in Scotland. As stated in the Gracious Speech, we shall lay proposals before the House to that end.

Mr. Rankin

Will the Prime Minister make sure that Scotland always keeps up with Wales?

The Prime Minister

The request in this Question is for Wales to keep up with Scotland.

Mr. William Hamilton

Will the Prime Minister recognise that he has no mandate in Scotland to do any such thing? Will he say what Wales has done to deserve the kind of treatment he is about to mete out to Scotland?

The Prime Minister

If the hon. Member is using as a background to his series of questions that he wants a separatist Scotland, he had better put that to the Scots. He will not get much support.