§ 39. Mr. Dalyell
To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will set up a Select Committee to consider military action in Kuwait.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Before the Government reply in the debate on 15 March that I have been lucky enough to draw, will they reflect whether, in the light of the Al Sabah family's not returning to Kuwait as yet, in the light of the photochemical smog from the burning oil wells, which is becoming a desperate health problem, causing respiratory and other difficulties, and in the light of what appears to be happening to the Palestinians—the Kuwaitis are saying publicly that the Israelis know how to deal with the Palestinians, and are treating them very cruelly—there is not a serious case for a Select Committee? It looks as if we shall have to be in Kuwait for a very long time.
§ Mr. MacGregor
I do not think that it would be appropriate to have a specific and separate Select Committee. It is possible for individual Select Committees to look into aspects of the issue if they wish to do so. Indeed, I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence will give evidence to the Defence Select Committee on Wednesday of this week. The hon. Gentleman knows that Select Committees can take up these issues. From what he said, it is clear that more than one Select Committee may be involved.
§ Mr. Jessel
As we normally set up Select Committees to discuss what is going wrong, and as the military action in Kuwait plainly went absolutely right, ought we not to set up a Select Committee to determine what went so disastrously wrong with the policies of the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath)?
§ Mr. Dalyell
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I confess that I was indeed wrong. I forecast that only 300 oil wells would go up; actually, 900 are burning.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. This matter may be discussed on Friday 15 March, since the hon. Gentleman has wisely chosen it as the subject for debate.