HC Deb 18 December 1973 vol 866 cc1137-9
Ql. Mr. Molloy

asked the Prime Minister what further ministerial changes he is considering.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply which I gave to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) on 13th December.—[Vol. 866, c. 180.]

Mr. Molloy

Is the Prime Minister aware that the present crisis has underlined the need for the establishment of a national energy co-ordinating department with a Cabinet supremo at its head responsible to this House of Commons in order to ensure that our country exploits to the full our indigenous resources? Will the right hon. Gentleman consider this as a proposition which should be implemented almost immediately?

The Prime Minister

The whole purpose of this Government since coming to power has been to exploit the country's indigenous resources to the utmost degree, and we shall go on doing that.

Mr. Laurance Reed

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are many of his own supporters who share the conviction of the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy)? My right hon. Friend has said that the North Sea operation should be conducted as though we were in wartime conditions, so let us have war-time conditions.

The Prime Minister

It was in a colloquial sense that I said it should be regarded as a war-time operation. I do not think that this House wants war-time conditions on the East Coast of Scotland. In fact, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my noble Friend the Minister of State have been treating this matter with the utmost urgency.

Mr. Grimond

Although I was grateful for the Prime Minister's non-answer to my Question on a previous occasion, may I ask whether he is aware that it is necessary that we should know who is the strategic authority on energy planning and that he should be a member of the Cabinet?

The Prime Minister

It is my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who is a member of the Cabinet.

Mr. William Hamilton

And what a mess he is.

Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles

Will my right hon. Friend accept the congratulations of his supporters that his crew has managed within the past 24 hours to take in a reef in the middle of a full gale, which is a very difficult job, and therefore it is hoped that he will not change any of its members?

The Prime Minister

I am grateful for my hon. and gallant Friend's nautical compliment.