Will the right hon. Gentleman take great care in this matter and appreciate that if he does delay decisions further on this important issue he is in danger, first, of losing the very great start which he got as a result of the actions of the former Government and, secondly, that other countries which are also interested in the Continental Shelf may step forward and take our place?
I am aware of the point the hon. Gentleman makes. The area for which applications will be invited, as well as the timing of them, will depend on agreements with the other States to which he referred, which are States on the borders of the United Kingdom. Up to now we have reached agreement with Norway, but negotiations are still proceeding with Denmark and Holland. I could not now say when those agreements will be concluded.