asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will change the composition of the Advisory Panel on the Highlands and Islands so as to secure wider representation of the interests involved.
I have been considering the composition of the Highlands Panel very carefully. At present it comprises eight representatives of Highland Local Authorities, four Members of Parliament, four persons appointed directly by the Secretary of State, one of whom retires on rotation each year, and two representatives of the Scottish Council (Development and Industry). The Chairman is the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. M. MacMillan).I have come to the conclusion that the Panel would be strengthened if it included all the Members of Parliament for Highland constituencies and I am glad to announce that the noble Lord the Member for Inverness (Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton) and the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) have agreed to serve. I regret that the hon. Member for Sutherland and Caithness (Sir D. Robertson) finds himself unable to do so. In place of Mr. A. J. McKenzie, who retires on rotation, I am appointing Colonel Robert Neilson. In view of the desirability of giving close attention to the development of suitable industries in the Highlands, I have also invited the Scottish Council to nominate a third representative, to be specially chosen for his industrial experience.