HC Deb 23 November 1970 vol 807 cc12-3
15. Mr. John Wells

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many British Waterways' canals he has visited officially since he took office; and where these visits have been paid.

Mr. Peter Thomas

One. I officially reopened the northern section of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal on 16th October, 1970.

Mr. Ellis

On a point of order. I speak with some diffidence, in the realisation that I may be reprimanded if what I say is not strictly a point of order. I should like your guidance, Mr. Speaker, in relation to the difficulty which faces Welsh Members. Already we are entitled only to 19 Questions, and now we have a Question which has nothing to do with Wales.

Mr. Speaker

I cannot comment on that point. I believe that Wales is part of Britain.

Mr. Wells

I am glad that my right hon. Friend is taking this interest in inland waterways and hope that he will see that the section of waterway that he reopened remains open as a waterway and that he can assure the House that he will give his enthusiastic support to waterways as such, so that they will not be used for other purposes.

Mr. Peter Thomas

I am certainly in favour of keeping open the part of the canal that I reopened. I am also in favour of the maintenance of canals as national amenities where practicable.

Mr. Alan Williams

Since the right hon. Gentleman has no plans for the expansion of the motorways or main roads in Wales, since he intends to cut back on other road expenditure in Wales, and since he denies responsibility for the railways in Wales and his only claim to be interested in the transport system of Wales is his opening of a few miles of canal, will he resign from his present job and devote himself fully to the Chairmanship of the Conservative Party?

Mr. Peter Thomas

I suggest that the hon. Gentleman looks at some of the answers that I have already given in the House. If he does he will find that what he said in the preface to his long supplementary question is totally wrong.