26. Mr. R. C. Mitchell
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will have discussions with the General Council of British Shipping and the relevant trades unions about the future defence role of the Merchant Navy.
§ Mr. Blaker
I met representatives of the general council on 28 April and my officials are in regular contact with the shipping industry on matters of mutual concern. In this connection I would in particular refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Sir P. Wall) on 18 October.—[Vol. 29, c.46–4 7.]
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Trade is giving careful consideration to the representations he has received in response to his invitation to the ship owners and the seafarers' unions to comment on the lessons to be drawn from the Merchant Navy's role in the South Atlantic operation.