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Volume 887: debated on Wednesday 5 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next intends to pay an official visit to Brussels.

Will the Secretary of State ensure that his Department gives adequate publicity to the tangible benefits for Scotland of EEC membership especially from such sources as the European Social Fund, the European Coal and Steel Community and, in the near future, the regional fund?

If I remember rightly, I answered a Question by the hon. Member on that subject in January.

Will my right hon. Friend try to arrange a visit to Brussels before the EEC referendum? If he manages to get there, will he take the opportunity of studying first-hand the undemocratic and over-centralised nature of the EEC? Will he try to see that this over-centralisation and lack of democracy does not become a characteristic of the EEC referendum? Does he realise that many of us in Scottish constituencies would like the result to be announced constituency by constituency, so that we may know whether or not our attempts to get out of the Market are being backed by our constituencies.

I gather that my hon. Friend will have no trouble in making up his mind how he will vote. In view of the requests for me to visit Glasgow, Moray and Nairn, Dumbarton, Fife, and other places, I do not see any possibility of an early visit to Brussels. I shall be able to make up my mind on the nature of that organisation, I think, without such a visit.

On the right hon. Gentleman's next visit to Brussels will he consider putting the EEC fisheries policy on his agenda? Will he bear in mind that inshore fishermen feel that their interests are not being looked after, and that they are demanding a 50-mile limit now?

I had expected to have to deal with that point on a later Question, in which the hon. Member invites me to visit her constituency. However, we are not unmindful of the points which have been put concerning fishery limits, and so forth. This matter concerns, first, not only the EEC but the Law of the Sea Conference. Certainly the EEC and its ideas on fishery limits represent a further complication, and we are watching the situation.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that every Minister who is renegotiating the terms of membership is being increasingly satisfied that he is getting the terms we want and which were included in our manifesto? Has my right hon. Friend contacted Scottish industry, which provides the vast proportion of jobs in Scotland? It will tell him, as it told me in Glenrothes in Fife that if we get out of the Market there will be a massive increase in unemployment.

I do not think there is any doubt that the answer we get depends on to whom we direct the question.

Is the Secretary of State planning to give Scotland a lead on the referendum?

I do not know what the hon. Member means by a lead. Is he asking whether I am going to express my own opinion? Once the renegotiations are completed and we come to the referendum I shall be as much entitled to my opinion as anyone else. How I express it is a matter for me.

When he goes to Brussels, if he ever does, will the Secre- tary of State notice that that over-centralised bureaucracy has fewer bureaucrats in the Commission for 250 million people's welfare than he has in the Scottish Office for 5 million people's welfare?