§ The Minister of State for Defence (Lord Balniel)
I would ask my hon. Friend to await the statement which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will be making later this afternoon.
The position on naval vessels is that a frigate is close at hand and can be ordered to the aid of British trawlers if necessary.
§ Lord Balniel
I can certainly confirm that British naval vessels are available and can be ordered to the assistance of British trawlers if needed. I condemn very vigorously the action of the gunboat, which was a serious hazard to life and property. There is widespread parliamentary and public concern about the resumption of harassment of British trawlers. But I ask my hon. Friend to await the more comprehensive statement that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will be making later.