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Volume 929: debated on Thursday 7 April 1977

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asked the Prime Minister whether he will make an official visit to Roxburgh.

In that case, may I remind the Prime Minister of the local heroine of Roxburgh, the Maid Lilliard, who fought against the English at Ancrim Moor?

"Upon the English loons
She laid many thumps,
And when her legs were cuttit off
She fought upon her stumps."
That is the spirit which haunts the running conversations between the Liberals and the Government on devolution. Would it not be far better for there to be talks on the very important subject of the decentralisation of government, out in the open, between all parties, in the form of a constitutional conference?

I thought that it was Admiral Benbow who, when his legs were cut off, said:

"Let a cradle now in haste
On the quarter deck be placed
That the enemy I may face till I die."
The hon. Gentleman will recollect that the Admiral's legs were cut off by chain shot while fighting the French, and it was nothing to do with the common agricultural policy. So I do not think that there is much to concern us about this. I realise that our relations with the Liberal Party seem to upset the Conservatives rather a lot, and I suppose that that is inevitable. It is, I think, just a mark of the fact that the right hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) takes a more objective view of the national interest than does the Tory Party.

Now that my right hon. Friend has time to spare not to go to Roxburgh, does he intend to accept an invitation to visit my borough for the Cup Final at Wembley?

Order. Fair play. Although it is nearly Easter, we must try to relate supplementary questions to the Questions on the Order Paper. I think that I had better move on.