asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether in view of the amount of land already lost to food production in Scotland and the fact that some 40,000 acres are now in the ownership or are otherwise available to the War Department for tank training near Hawick, he will consult with the Secretary of State for War in order to prevent the use for military training purposes of a further 4,800 acres of the highest quality sheep land in the Roberton district of Lanarkshire, which is also within about 50 miles of Hawick.
I have ordered a public local inquiry into the proposal to use the Roberton area for military purposes. I am unable to make any statement until I have considered the results of the inquiry.
Will the right hon. Gentleman have in mind that his overriding duty to Scotland is to secure the maintenance of food production and not to allow his right hon. Friend to lead him into untried paths of military activity?
The question of what is the overriding purpose of using the land in Scotland covers many things and I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman will raise his points in the military Debates.
In view of the fact that over 22,000 sheep have already been lost to this part of Scotland and in view of the meat shortage, will my right hon. Friend oppose in every possible way further acquisition by the military authorities?
An inquiry into these matters is proceeding.