Is my right hon. Friend aware that at its area conference the N.U.M. passed a resolution—it later held a Press conference on the subject—condemning any idea that coal or coking coal should be imported? Is he also aware that had the advice of British steel bosses been taken we would now have a lot less coking coal than we have?
The answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is that I have explained to the House on previous occasions that reserves of high quality coking coal in this country are dwindling and that there is no doubt that, in certain circumstances, it would be helpful to the coal mining industry if one considered imports of some minor kinds of coal for blending, which is a technical matter and does not immediately arise.
In answering the second part, I assure my hon. Friend that I have on many occasions said that there will be no importation whatever of coking coal except with a view to strengthening our domestic position, and that includes the mining industry.