HC Deb 06 May 1975 vol 891 cc1207-8
Q1. Mr. Mike Thomas

asked the Prime Minister when he next plans to pay an official visit to Wales.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons(Mr. Edward Short)

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend visited Wales in March and hopes to do so again soon.

Mr. Thomas

When the Prime Minister visits Wales, will it be apposite for him to say a word or two on devolution, about which we have heard little lately? Would it not be of interest and importance to the people of Wales who want to know what progress is being made and to English people who are concerned to know about the impact of devolution upon them?

Mr. Short

I imagine that when my right hon. Friend goes to Wales for discussions with the Welsh TUC, as he did in the case of Scotland, devolution will certainly be discussed. A short time ago we had a two-day debate in the House on devolution.

Mr. Gwynfor Evans

When the Prime Minister next goes to Wales, will the Lord President ask him to take note that the Welsh TUC, which met a week ago last Saturday, once again came out overwhelmingly in favour of a Parliament for Wales with legislative powers and powers relating to industrial and economic affairs, thus reflecting the majority opinion of the Welsh people?

Mr. Short

I am aware of the discussions which took place last week, and the hon. Gentleman will be aware of the Government's White Paper of last September in which they gave a firm undertaking to introduce a Bill to create a Welsh Assembly. That will be done towards the end of this year.

Mr. Ioan Evans

Is my right hon. Friend aware that 90 per cent. of the Welsh electorate are opposed to separatism? If the Prime Minister comes to Wales, will he take note that the news yesterday of the closures in the steel industry has caused great anxiety in the Welsh valleys and other areas?

Mr. Short

I agree with both parts of my hon. Friend's supplementary question. I agree with him entirely on separatism. That is why we made our statement last September, and that is the policy we intend to implement. The Government are concerned about the imminent closures and I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry will be answering a Private Notice Question today on that subject.