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Fishing Vessel "Red Crusader" (Inquiry)

Volume 656: debated on Monday 19 March 1962

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is yet in a position to make a detailed statement on the course and result of the international commission of inquiry into the "Red Crusader" incident which was due to begin on 21st November, 1961.

After both Governments had submitted written Memorials and Counter-Memorials to the Commission, an Oral Hearing was held in The Hague from 5th to 16th March. The Commission is now preparing its report.

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that at one stroke the Government have inflicted great injustice on Scottish industry and on the Scottish Bar by creating the unsatisfactory precedent of submitting this issue to an ad hoc and unsatisfactory tribunal unable to deal with it? Will he reconsider the whole matter upon a basis that will enable the parties to be properly represented at am appropriate tribunal by members of the Scottish Bar and before a tribunal from which there can be an appeal?

The hon. and learned Gentleman is most unfair when he refers to the Commission in such terms. The Commission of Inquiry consists of highly reputable and able people, and I am sure that, on reflection, the hon. and learned Member will be sorry that he referred to it in that way. The issues before the Commission have, in the first instance, involved questions of fact with possible implications for international law. I am told that no question of Scottish law arises, as the incidents in question took place off the Faroe Islands. The United Kingdom delegation included the Chief Inspector of Sea Fisheries for Scotland, who was available to give advice on the technical questions involved, so I would suggest that Scotland has in no way been prejudiced by the representations before the Commission.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.