§ Mr. Milne
I beg leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of debating a specific and important matter which should have urgent consideration, namely,the sending of a letter by the Prime Minister to Mr. Trygve Bratteli, the Prime Minister of Norway, concerning the stand being taken by his country in the negotiations on fisheries with the European Economic Community, and its effect on British entry.1515 The specific and important matter concerns the future of the fishing communities of Britain and Norway and importance is added to the fisheries negotiations because of the promise given to the House that Britain would not sign the Treaty of Accession unless safeguards and conditions satisfactory to this House were obtained in the negotiations due to take place on Saturday, 11th December. The date of the resumed negotiations also underlines the need for urgent consideration of the matter by this House.
The letter sent by the Prime Minister is regarded in Norwegian circles and by the Norwegian people as an unwarranted intrusion into Norwegian affairs. It is also an unwarranted intrusion into the job of negotiating a fisheries agreement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and his team, because it makes a request of Norway's Prime Minister to tone down Norway's demands in regard to the retention of the 12-mile limit, and it asks for more flexibility in this respect.
It also states that there is a limit as to how far the Community can go in this respect, and that Britain wishes to have a Community of ten and not of nine or eight. As the arrangements made—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman has done very well so far, but he is getting very much into the merits and making the kind of speech which he 1516 would make on a later occasion if his Motion were successful.
§ Mr. Milne
I apologise for straying a little, and I close on this comment. The arrangements which will apply to the fishing industry must enable our fishing population to look to the future with confidence. That view is shared by both Norway and Britain, and it is the standard set by Norway's negotiators. I should have thought that Britain's Prime Minister would have been prepared to accept such a standard instead of attempting to water down the demands of a fellow applicant.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter which he thinks should have urgent consideration, namelythe sending of a letter by the Prime Minister to Mr. Trygve Bratteli, the Prime Minister of Norway, concerning the stand being taken by his country in negotiations on fisheries with the European Economic Community, and the effect upon British entry.I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for having given me notice of his intention to make this application. I, of course, have to consider it only from a procedural point of view. It is without doubt a very important matter, but my decision is whether it should be debated, if the House gives leave, under the provision of Standing Order No. 9. I am afraid that I cannot accede to the hon. Member's application.