HC Deb 29 October 1997 vol 299 c900
Q13. Mr. Savidge

As I am the first Scottish Member to ask the Prime Minister a question since the result of our historic referendum, does my right hon. Friend agree that, given the clear and decisive mandate that we received from the people of Scotland, Parliament should proceed as swiftly as possible to establish the Scottish Parliament? [12447]

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We were delighted with the result in the Scottish referendum and today the programme of constitutional change is being taken further with details of proposals for London, so that London people can have a proper, strategic authority and an elected mayor to oversee the issues of concern to people in London. It is all part of a process of bringing government closer to the people, ending the era of big government and ensuring that we get a constitution fit for the 21st century.

Q14. Dr. Michael Clark

Does the Prime Minister recall that, almost exactly five years ago, several Conservative Members went out on a limb to help the coal industry? Is he aware that the coal contracts come up for re-signing in the spring and that if there is not a satisfactory agreement several pits could close? Does he think that many hon. Members on Government Benches will go out on a limb to help the coal industry this time round? [12448]

The Prime Minister

I pay tribute to the work that the hon. Gentleman has always done in support of the coal industry, although any lectures from the Conservative party on the future of the coal industry are a little rich. Of course we understand the problem that the particular company he refers to faces, but we have to ensure that the prices that are being offered are properly competitive.