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Scotland

Volume 889: debated on Tuesday 8 April 1975

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02.

asked the Prime Minister when he next intends to pay an official visit to Scotland.

I visited Scotland on 27th and 28th February and again on 22nd March. I have no plans for a further visit before July.

Will the Prime Minister seek an opportunity before July to make clear to the Scottish people—particularly to certain members of his own party and to the Scottish TUC—the disastrous results for Scotland if the United Kingdom leaves the European Community? Will he confirm that 12,000 jobs in Scotland would be put at risk if the United Kingdom were to leave the EEC, and that Scotland would be deprived of about £65 million each year from Community sources?

I am not in a position to check the accuracy of the hon. Gentleman's figure in regard to jobs, or his other figure, but I spoke on the subject of the renegotiations which we have held on the Common Market when I was in his own city of Aberdeen just before Easter.

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind that the last time he was in Scotland he promised that there would be an open debate on the Common Market, without rancour? Will he also remember that freedom is indivisible, and that this principle should also apply to Ministers in this House? Does he agree that if that pledge were properly fulfilled, he and the rest of us would gain credit for it?

I do not agree with my hon. Friend. I appealed for a comradely debate, free from rancour, and so far this is what we have had—with one or two significant, or insignificant, exceptions. I trust that this will continue. The agreement to differ, which I announced, referred to a total freedom —within the normal rules of etiquette, friendly behaviour, and gentlemanly courtesy—to campaign in the country on the referendum. The situation governing a parliamentary debate is quite different. and has always been so considered.