1. Mr. Edward Taylor
asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will make a further statement about the Beira Patrol.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Navy (Mr. Antony Buck)
We are continuing to fulfil our obligation under the Security Council resolution to prevent the arrival at Beira of vessels reasonably believed to be carrying oil destined for Southern Rhodesia.
Will my hon. Friend give an assurance that the Beira Patrol will be included in the defence cuts announced yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer? Does he not agree that it is a piece of nonsense, and an insult to British industry which is now working a three-day week, that we should continue this pointless exercise—an exercise that achieves nothing since the Arab countries have said that they are sending no oil to Southern Africa?
§ Mr. Goodhew
While the Navy is undertaking this work, can it not at the same time do something useful—that is to say, keep observation on the potential threat to this country of the activities of the Russian fleet in that area?
§ Mr. Rost
As the Beira Patrol must now be desperately in need of a change of scenery, would it not be appropriate to end this farce and, in view of the national emergency, move the patrol to British home waters where it could blockade the tankers which are diverting oil which is desperately needed in England to more profitable markets overseas?
§ Mr. Marten
As our so-called partners in the Common Market are some of the biggest sanction-busters regarding Rhodesia, will my hon. Friend ask his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to ask the Council of Ministers to make a contribution to the cost of oil used on the Beira Patrol?
§ Mr. William Hamilton
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Conservative Members who consistently attack the Beira Patrol swore an oath of allegiance to the Crown? Does he agree that the patrol is doing its best to bring down a rebellion against the Crown? Are not some hon. Members engaged in a measure of treachery?