§ 3.2 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Young) rose to move, That this House, having considered the views of the people of Hong Kong as set out in the reports of the Assessment Office and the Independent Monitoring Team published in White Paper, Cmnd. 9407, approves Her Majesty's Government's intention to sign the agreement on the future of Hong Kong negotiated with the Chinese Government which was published in White Paper, Cmnd. 9352.
§ The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion which stands in my name on the Order Paper. I do not need to remind the House of the historic importance of the draft agreement on the future of Hong Kong. We are providing for the future of the 5½ million people of the territory, and one of the world's largest financial centres, into the middle of the 21st century. It sets out unique arrangements to deal with a unique problem bequeathed to us by history. It is right that we should have an opportunity to debate it in full. As always in your Lordships' House, we have in the Chamber many noble Lords who know the territory well, including one ex-governor. We shall all listen with great interest to the maiden speech of the noble Earl, Lord Birkenhead. I am sure that we shall have a thorough and well-informed debate.
§ The agreement is the outcome of two years of complicated and often difficult negotiations. The Government entered into these negotiations with the Chinese Government in 1982 against the background of the historical realities which determine Hong Kong's position today. In 1997 the lease on the New Territories will run out; under that lease, unless other arrangements were made, 92 per cent. of Hong Kong's land area would revert to China. The ceded territories, making up the remaining 8 per cent. could not survive as an entity in their own right. They have over the years been completely integrated with the rest of Hong 11 Kong. In these circumstances there was no real choice for the Government. To do nothing, which would in practice have meant the reversion of the territory to China in 1997 without agreed arrangements, was not really an option. The uncertainty in the meantime would have destroyed Hong Kong. It is clear that we had to seek, by negotiation with China, arrangements which would permit the maintenance after 1997 of Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, and to seek to enshrine these arrangements in a formal agreement with China.
§ In September 1982 during the visit of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister to Peking, agreement was reached to enter into negotiations with this purpose. It was clear from the start that any agreement must be one we could honourably commend to the people of Hong Kong and to Parliament, and one which they would find acceptable.
§ In the early stages of the talks we explored whether it might be possible, in the interest of minimum change, to secure agreement to continued British administration in Hong Kong after 1997, on the basis of our recognition of China's sovereignty over the whole territory. It became clear, however, that a solution along these lines would not be acceptable to the Chinese Government. We concluded that a breakdown in the talks, with all the uncertainties that this would have created, would not serve the best interest of the people of Hong Kong. Indeed, it would have had very serious consequences for prosperity and stability. We therefore decided, with the support of the Governor and the Executive Council in Hong Kong, to explore Chinese ideas for Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, enjoying a high degree of autonomy and the maximum possible degree of continuity in its system and way of life.
§ The draft agreement, laid before this House as a White Paper, is the outcome of those negotiations. I should like to pay tribute to the negotiators on both sides for the remarkable achievement which it represents; in particular to my right honourable and learned friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary for his determined and patient diplomacy which played such a great part in the successful conclusion of these negotiations. I should also like to thank the Governor, Sir Edward Youde, and the unofficial members of the Executive Council of Hong Kong for their wise advice and for the courage with which they faced many difficult decisions. The many officials involved in the talks, from the Hong Kong Government as well as from our own Diplomatic Service, showed dedication and great resourcefulness.
§ The agreement is both comprehensive and detailed. It provides a firm basis for the future, and will, I believe. give confidence both to the people of Hong Kong and to the international community.
§ I will not go over the agreement point by point, as noble Lords will have had an opportunity to study it in detail since it was published on 26th September. There are, however, certain aspects which I should like to emphasis.12
§ The first is that the joint declaration and annexes together constitute a legally binding international agreement. As the Chinese Foreign Minister recently said, the joint declaration is a form of international treaty and has the same force in international law.
§ Secondly, under the terms of the agreement itself the policies set out in the agreement will be stipulated in a basic law to be promulgated by the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China; and they will remain unchanged for 50 years from 1st July 1997.
§ Thirdly, the agreement contains a sufficient degree of detail to reassure opinion in Hong Kong and internationally about the future of the territory. It provides for Hong Kong to enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, and makes it clear that the socialist system and policies practised in the mainland will not be applied to the Special Administrative Region.
§ The agreement provides that the Special Administrative Region will be served by an elected legislature: that the executive will be accountable to that legislature and to the courts: and the administration will be in the hands of the local people. It guarantees that Hong Kong's present system of law, including the common law, will be maintained. The present independent judicial system will be continued, but with a court of final appeal sitting in Hong Kong.
§ A public service in which appointment and promotion depends on qualifications, experience and ability will continue to serve the Special Administrative Region as it has loyally served Hong Kong in the past. The people of Hong Kong will continue to enjoy their exising rights and freedoms under Hong Kong law and the continued application to Hong Kong of the international covenants on civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights.
§ The agreement provides for Hong Kong to retain and strengthen its position as a world commercial, financial and communications centre. The Special Administrative Region will be able to negotiate agreements and participate in international organisations in appropriate fields, such as the GATT and the multi-fibre arrangement. It will have autonomy in the economic, financial and monetary fields. There will be no exchange control, and the Hong Kong dollar will be freely convertible. Investors will be able to put in or withdraw their capital freely. The Special Administrative Region will be able to determine its own shipping policies and to negotiate its own air service arrangements for international flights which do not touch on the mainland of China.
§ Existing land rights will be recognised after 1997, and the Hong Kong Government will be able to grant new leases extending up to the year 2047. The inhabitants of Hong Kong will continue to enjoy the right of free entry to and exit from the Special Administrative Region. There is all this detail and much more. I think that your Lordships will agree that this adds up to an impressively thorough document.
§ I referred earlier to our objective of an agreement acceptable to the people of Hong Kong. Since the publication of the agreement on 26th September the people of Hong Kong have had an opportunity to 13 express their views to an Assessment Office, appointed by the Governor and charged with preparing an accurate analysis and assessment of opinion in Hong Kong. The Assessment Office report, together with that of the independent monitors appointed by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to oversee their work, was published as a White Paper and laid before Parliament on 29th November.
§ As anyone who has followed the Hong Kong press in this period will know, the debate in Hong Kong on the draft agreement has been both serious and intensive. I am struck by how realistic and level-headed much of this comment has been. Some three and a half million copies of the draft agreement were distributed in Hong Kong and two and half thousand direct submissions were received by the Assessment Office, many from organisations representing large memberships.
Noble Lords will have noted the conclusion of the Assessment Office report that,
most of the people of Hong Kong find the agreement acceptable".
The message was borne out across the whole range of evidence received by the Assessment Office. The agreement was endorsed by all the principal representative bodies, including the Executive, Legislative and Urban Councils, the Heung Yee Kuk and all 18 District Boards. The overwhelming majority of the organisations and groups which expressed their views found the agreement acceptable. Of the just over 1,000 individuals who expressed a clear view to the Assessment Office, 677 found the agreement acceptable and 364 rejected it. I found this figure especially significant, even though the sample is small. It is normally those who do not agree to something who are the first to write about it.
§ These findings are reinforced by opinions expressed in the media and also by the evidence of independent opinion polls. One of these, the largest and perhaps the most scientific, shows that 81 per cent. of those questioned thought the agreement very good or quite good. The conclusion of the Assessment Office is unreservedly confined by the independent monitors. They also reported that the Assessment Office had fulfilled its remit properly, accurately and impartially.
§ The report sets out clearly the various very natural concerns which Hong King people feel about the future. This will be of enormous value to the Government in the years ahead, during the process of implementing the agreement and during our discussions with the Chinese Government in the Joint Liaison Group. I should like to address one or two of these concerns now.
§ One of them which has been brought out in the statement of the unofficial members of the Executive and Legislative Councils issued on 29th November, is the natural wish of the people of Hong Kong to be involved in the drafting of the Basic Law. The Basic Law will be passed by the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, and it is for the Chinese Government to undertake the drafting of it. I am sure, however, that Chinese leaders will have noted the concerns of the people of Hong Kong on this score, Indeed, Chinese spokesmen have indicated publicly that the people of Hong Kong will be consulted, though the exact form of consultation has yet to be made clear. We welcome this.14
§ Another concern raised in the Assessment Office report is about the role of the Joint Liaison Group. Fears have been expressed that the Joint Liaison Group might interfere in the administration of Hong Kong. In my view this fear, although understandable, is unfounded. The agreement states explicitly that the group will be an organ of liasion and not an organ of power. It will take no part in the administration of Hong Kong. The two Governments are agreed that it is the British Government which will remain fully responsible for the administration of Hong Kong up to 1st July 1997. We are determined to carry out that commitment.
§ The Government attach the highest importance to the Joint Liaison Group as a means of achieving the necessary close co-operation with the Chinese Government over Hong Kong in the next twelve years. I can also assure noble Lords that the Government will ensure that the interests of Hong Kong are properly represented in the group by involving officials from the Hong Kong Government in the British delegation.
§ Many people have also expressed concern about nationality. This was without question one of the most difficult subjects to negotiate. Each side had conflicting interests that were not easily reconcilable. Nevertheless, the Government believe that the resolution eventually achieved goes a long way to meeting the needs of the people of Hong Kong.
§ Arrangements on nationality are set out in a draft exchange of memoranda associated with the agreement. The terms of these memoranda have been agreed between the two sides and they were initialled at the same time as the agreement itself. The effect of the United Kingdom memorandum is that those who were on 30th June 1997 British dependent territories citizens by virtue of a connection with Hong Kong will be able to retain, if they wish, a status, which will be a form of British nationality, after 1997 and for the rest of their lives. This status can be retained by all such BDTCs whatever their ethnic origin. It will enable them to continue to use a British passport and to avail themselves of consular protection when in third countries.
§ I realise that there has been disappointment that we were not able to obtain transmissibility of British national status by descent after 1st July 1997. We fought very hard to retain this benefit, which is of course one currently enjoyed by British dependent territories citizens. But the Chinese Government were not prepared to agree that anyone born after 1997 should acquire British nationality by virtue of a connection with Hong Kong.
§ Despite the clear statements which were made when this matter was debated in another place there may be some continuing misapprehension about the possibility that people who are now British nationals could be made stateless by these arrangements. I am glad to take the opportunity to reassure noble Lords that this will not happen. We intend fully to comply with our obligations under the 1961 convention on the reduction of statelessness. Therefore, the draft legislation which the Government will in due course bring before the House will include provisions which will enable us to ensure that any British national in Hong Kong who would otherwise have become 15 stateless as a result of these arrangements will retain a form of British nationality. It will also enable provisions to be made for any children of ex-British dependent territories citizens who would otherwise be born stateless to acquire British nationality. Those ex-British dependent territories citizens whom the Chinese Government do not regard as their own nationals and who have no other nationality will not be left stateless, and neither will their children.
§ Concern has also been expressed on the commitment of the Chinese Government to the implementation of the agreement. While no absolute guarantees can be given about the future there is no reason to doubt that the Chinese Government will fulfil their obligations under this agreement. The Chinese Government freely entered into the agreement: and they are justifiably proud of their good record in observing international agreements. The Chinese Foreign Minister has publicly recognised that this is a legally binding agreement. Moreover, both economic interest and the course of Chinese reunification will be served by adherence to the agreement. To my mind these add up to very strong incentives to observance of its letter and its spirit.
§ The agreement is the product of long and sometimes difficult negotiations. Negotiations by definition require give and take. The agreement goes a long way. But it does not and cannot provide answers to all questions to which it will be necessary to provide answers over the next 63 years. I recognise that it will be necessary to elaborate further on some of the general principles set out in this agreement. One such area is that of constitutional arrangements and government structure of the future Special Administrative Region. The agreement provides an excellent framework to which the details will have to be added.
§ In this connection, I know that many noble Lords will have read with interest the White Paper on constitutional development which has been published by the Hong Kong government. This provides for substantial development towards representative institutions in the 1985 elections and the prospect of further development in this direction after a review in 1987. That review will also consider the question of direct elections. The Hong Kong Government's proposals take into account the general desire expressed during the consultative process for the proposals to avoid any sudden and dramatic changes which could prove unsettling to the territory.
§ The success of the agreement will depend not only on the Governments of China and the United Kingdom, but in a large part on the people of Hong Kong and their willingness to make it work. I am confident that they will rise to this challenge, and that they will make the territory even more successful than it is today. We, for our part, will remain utterly committed to Hong Kong up to 1997, as the administering power. Thereafter, I am sure that Hong Kong and Britain will remain closely connected through a complex of economic, cultural and personal ties, as the agreement provides.
§ My right honourable friend the Prime Minister and my right honourable and learned friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary plan to travel to Peking 16 later this month for the signature of the agreement. They will also visit Hong Kong. Following signature the Government will bring forward legislation early in 1985 to provide for the termination of sovereignty in 1997 and to provide powers to make other necessary changes to the law in connection with it.
§ I look forward to hearing your Lordships' views on this agreement. For their part, the Government regard it as a very satisfactory outcome to the negotiations. We believe that it provides a sound basis on which a stable and prosperous Hong Kong can continue into the next century. I warmly commend it to the House. My Lords. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That this House, having considered the views of the people of Hong Kong as set out in the reports of the Assessment Office and the Independent Monitoring Team published in White Paper, Cmnd. 9407, approves Her Majesty's Government's intention to sign the agreement on the future of Hong Kong negotiated with the Chinese Government which was published in White Paper, Cmnd. 9352.—[Baroness Young.]
§ 3.22 p.m.
§ Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos
My Lords, we are grateful to the noble Baroness for her informative opening speech and we also look forward in this debate to hearing the noble Earl, Lord Birkenhead, for the first time. Britain has problems of a greater or lesser degree of difficulty with most of the remaining imperial inheritance. Hong Kong presented a special—one could, I think, say unique—problem and one that was clearly not foreseen in the treaties and conventions of 1843, 1860 and 1898. As the noble Baroness has just said, in the first two, 8 per cent. of what is now known as Hong Kong was ceded in perpetuity, and in the convention of 1898 the remaining 92 per cent. was leased for 99 years. As in so many other cases, those who signed the convention saw 99 years as eternity, whereas, in fact, they left the present inheritors of the lease with a hard nut to crack.
Britain has been a lessee all these years. It has been clear that unless the owner of the freehold was prepared to grant a new lease or to sell the reversion, Britain would have to pack her bags in 1997. I doubt if Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, great man though he was in many ways, saw it quite like this. But the Chinese have never been in any doubt whatever. They have always seen Hong Kong as Chinese territory. But the development of Hong Kong as a great centre of finance and commerce has modified and tempered the Chinese attitude. It is this appreciation of its value to China that has made possible the agreement we are now discussing. Once again we congratulate the Foreign Secretary and all the others involved on a successful negotiation that provides hope for a stable transition to the new dispensation that is envisaged.
We are of course, concerned about the feelings and the future of the people of Hong Kong. We appreciate their apprehensions. The prospect of a new landlord always creates uncertainty. The Government decided to test their views by setting up the assessment office. I noted in the Observer newspaper of 25th November that in an opinion poll conducted by four Hong Kong newspapers, four out of five of the area's 5.6 million 17 people gave qualified, and in some cases grudging, approval to the provisions of the agreement about their future after 1997 and that a large majority favoured the return of the colony to the motherland, although 80 per cent. are uneasy about coming under Communist rule. It was a mixed reception against a background that people were accepting the inevitable.
Since then, as the noble Baroness has told us, we have received the reports of the assessement officer and the independent monitoring team. We are grateful to them for coping so well with so difficult a task. These are important documents. They reflected very broadly what the opinion polls had already revealed. Paragraphs 3.11 and 3.18 conclude that most of the people of Hong Kong find the draft agreement acceptable, and that covered—and I quote from the agreement—the principal representative bodies … the overwhelming majority of organisations and groupsand,most of the individualswho submitted their views. This is an impressive consensus which confirms the conclusions of the opinion polls.
I also read with very great interest the summary of the debate in the Legislative Council on 15th and 16th October and noted that on 18th October all but two of the Unofficial Members voted to commend the agreement, while two only abstained. I am bound to say that I found the expressions of hope, the determination to make the best of the new arrangement, and the appreciation of the work of the negotiators very moving indeed. It reflected the kind of spirit that has made Hong Kong the great centre that it is. There were, of course, many reservations and doubts about aspects of the agreement, especialy about the drafting of the basic law, to which I shall return in a moment.
May I also pay a tribute to the Unofficial Members of the Executive and Legislative Councils for all their work, and for their wholly constructive reaction to the negotiations. Many of us have had the opportunity to meet them, and this has been very helpful. We are also very grateful to my noble friend Lord Rhodes for the way he has co-ordinated these meetings and chaired them as well. I should like to thank my noble friend for his contribution to Sino-British relations and for giving us what my noble friend Lady Llewelyn-Davies describes in her report of the last delegation in October 1983 as,an example—at the age of 88!—of how to overcome physical and ideological obstacles with an infectious and superlatively informed enthusiasm".It is a compliment that my noble friend thoroughly deserves.
This has not been an easy time for the Unofficial Members; and we understand that. Their general reaction has been to give the proposals support, but to say that,the ultimate success of the Joint Declaration depends on people's confidence that it will be implemented faithfully and that matters of concern and questions of detail which have been raised are satisfactorily resolved and clarified by the two signatory Governments".18 What is clear from all the evidence and all the reports is that the way in which the affairs of Hong Kong are conducted over the next 12 years is absolutely critical. The history of Hong Kong over the following 50 years will depend partly on that and partly, of course, upon the Chinese Government. There must be a united determination and effort to ensure a stable and prosperous Hong Kong in 1997.
I agree strongly with those who recommend that there should be a progressive movement towards a more representative system, although one senses that it would be wrong to take any precipitate steps that might prejudice the stability of Hong Kong. The White Paper refers to the need for "civic education" both through the schools and in adult classes, and states that the Education Department has this in hand. We all hope that this will be promoted vigorously over the coming years.
The Unofficial Members have also recommended that the Government should publish an annual report on progress in Hong Kong from now until 1997. As my right honourable friend Mr. Healey suggested in another place last Wednesday, this could, if necessary, be debated in both Houses. There are strong arguments for this. I recall that when I entered another place many years ago we used to hold what we called a Welsh day. They could be very spirited affairs. We have moved on quite substantially in Wales since then, although we are no less spirited; but there is no reason why we should not have a Hong Kong Day, at least for a decade or so. We must make certain that the people of Hong Kong are participating fully in the machinery of the transitional period, in the Joint Liaison Group and in other bodies. In 1997 the people of Hong Kong must be in the driving seat—with the "L" plates removed!
One cannot expect a uniform approach to this unique situation, and people's views in Hong Kong have depended largely on the vantage point from which they have contemplated the agreement. There is great wealth in Hong Kong and there is also poverty; there is the older generation, there are the young intellectuals, and there are the expatriates. They all have an opinion.
The Agreement, and Section VI in particular, also did another thing: it brought a period of instability in Hong Kong to an end after the stock market and the local currency had lurched about in a crisis atmosphere, and Hong Kong's economy has performed well in recent months. We note, for example, that it is closer to being in balance than at any time since 1979: and export growth has been remarkable there. Inflation is down to single figures, and full employment is reported. There are also natural doubts about the future; and the decision of Jardine Matheson to move its legal domicile to Bermuda did not help. Here again the picture is a mixed one and I suppose that on the whole that is understandable.
May I now refer to some complex and unresolved issues? The noble Baroness has dealt helpfully with some of them. One of the most sensitive is, as she rightly pointed out, the nationality issue, and this is referrred to in the memoranda on pages 28 and 29 of the draft agreement. It was plain from the speeches in 19 the debate in this House on 21st May that many noble Lords feel deeply about it. The noble Lord, Lord MacLehose, with his great knowledge and experience, argued then that people are more likely to stay in Hong Kong if they have the assurance that they are free to leave, and also if the Government do their best to ensure that the effective rights of the present holders of British dependent territories citizens' passports will be no less after 1997 than they were before then. My noble friend Lord Rhodes made the same point.
The noble Baroness has helped us in this today in what she has said, and we are grateful to her. The position seems to be that China does not allow dual citizenship, and would thus regard all Chinese born in Hong Kong as Chinese citizens. Their nationality is based on bloodlines and not upon the law, as ours is. It is also the case, as I understand, that all Britain can offer Hong Kong Chinese is a non-citizenship paper conferring on former BDTCs British consular privileges and travel documents for use overseas. We shall now await the presentation of the Bill, to which the noble Baroness has referred, with great interest, because this. I think, will clarify the uncertainties which some of us have and, I hope, will remove the apprehensions of the people of Hong Kong as well.
We all appreciate the complexity of this arrangement. It is bound to produce problems large and small. but I think it is just as well that we should anticipate as many of them as we can now and take a compassionate attitude towards the people of Hong Kong, especially after 1997.
Some questions clearly arise upon the subject of defence, but I will say little about this now because it may be difficult to answer those questions at this stage. Little more is known other than that it will be the responsibility of China. Military matters occupy only seven lines in the 40-page document. It is not clear, for example, whether conscription into the armed forces, either to China's People's Liberation Army or a Hong Kong Special Administration Region force, would be introduced after 1997. We note that the agreement makes clear that Chinese troops stationed in Hong Kong will not interfere in the internal affairs of the SAR, but not when or where these troops will be sent; nor is there any guarantee thus far that Chinese soldiers will be subject to local laws while stationed in Hong Kong. I think that is a very important point, and I think it would he good to have an assurance from the Chinese Government that they will in fact observe the local law when they are stationed there. Further, can the noble Baroness say what would happen to any Hong Kong Chinese soldiers now in the British services once these are withdrawn?
Another uncertain area is that in the second paragraph of Section 11; namely, the reference to the Basic Law to be drafted by the Chinese for application by the SAR after 1997. I was very glad to understand from the noble Baroness that she believes quite confidently that there will be adequate consultations. I find in the views I have read and heard—and the noble Baroness herself stressed this point—that there is a very strong concern that there should be adequate consultation with the people of Hong Kong when the Basic Law is being drafted.
20 For example, when the three representatives of UMELCO went to Peking last June they made three major proposals to the Chinese Government and, indeed, to Mr. Deng personally. These are set out in their most reasonable document which is called The Future of Hong Kong. They are:First that the Sino-British Agreement must be detailed and binding and the Basic Law must be based on the Agreement; second that the people of Hong Kong should participate in the drafting of the Basic Law and those sections relating to Hong Kong's internal affairs should be drafted in the territory and not amended except at the initiation of Hong Kong; and third, that a Committee of Chinese people of international standing should be appointed by China to monitor and advise on the drafting, implementation and subsequent amendments to the Basic Law".These were the specific requests of UMELCO, and we do not yet know the Chinese reaction. What we do know is that the Basic Law will be part of the Chinese constitution and, as the noble Baroness said, will be passed by the Chinese National Congress. However, consultation with Hong Kong about them is of the first importance if confidence is to he sustained, and I am sure that that is clearly understood by all parties.
The conclusions of the monitoring team in paragraph 24 of the report are as good a summary of the mood as we can expect, and I think it is well worth reading out. It says this:But the verdict of acceptance implies neither positive enthusiasm nor passive acquiescence. The response to the Assessment Officer has demonstrated the realism of the people of Hong Kong. They know that their future now lies in their own hands; and the widespread concern to be involved, as the Assessment Office report has highlighted, in the drafting of the Basic Law is a timely and important token of their wish to stand increasingly on their own political feet.To conclude, there are many promising and reasonable aspects to this agreement. If it develops as the parties now intend, there seems to be no reason why the people of Hong Kong should not feel confident for the future. But there are many imponderables, and no one can predict the future of the territory with absolute certainty. That is impossible. China is a great nation with a wonderful civilisation whose influence in the world can only increase over the coming years. China's participation in world organisations, and the positive co-operation of the United States and ourselves and the European Community with China, can only bring benefits to both sides. Mr. Deng Xiaoping appears to see this clearly, and we must hope that his successors will be as clear-sighted as he is. If the broad principles of this agreement are kept and built upon, Hong Kong can look to a good future and China herself will gain the confidence and respect of the world as well.
§ Lord Davies of Leek
My Lords, before my noble friend concludes, may I ask him whether he will draw attention to the consular service and civil servants of British origin who have served us overseas for many years? I have seen in many parts of the world that they have often been forgotten when their pensions and status of service are no longer under the colonies or those parts of the world in which they serve. We have to watch their interests although we are saying farewell to the area.
§ Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos
My Lords, I am very much obliged to my noble friend. This is a matter of 21 the utmost importance. I regret that I did not mention it in my speech. There are so many aspects of these problems to which one should like to refer. But I am sure the point will be dealt with by the noble Baroness when she winds up the debate.