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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th December 1973.

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Photo of Dr Dickson Mabon Dr Dickson Mabon , Greenock 12:00 am, 11th December 1973

That was fair. If we were starting off now it would be a fair point. The juggernaut aspects of this affair, which the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire mentioned and the remark about the Bill slipping through unnoticed, is a joke. It must be. This Bill is born of the longest planning inquiry in Scottish history. Even before the inquiry began the debate on Hunterston had raged for many years. Indeed, the present Secretary of State, when in Opposition, swore that his political success would be marked by developments at Hunterston, so convinced were the Conservative Opposition of the case for industrialisation at that time. I am not decrying the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire in that regard. However, as I say, we have known of the Hunterston development for many years and all the legal processes have ben gone through very carefully indeed.

This Bill is to implement an order which has been heard by Parliamentary Commissioners and I hope that my hon. Friend for Glasgow, Scotstoun (Mr. Small) and the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble), who have been associated with the hearings, will say a word about it. The hearings resulted directly in the shaping of Clause 10 of the Instrument and gave concessions on noise and dust. In the original planning permission the Secretary of State's letter dealt with amenity matters as far as reasonably possible. I cannot accept criticisms abusing the Scottish Office. I agree that the Scottish Office is not faultless, but when I was there it was more infallible than the War Office when the hon. Gentleman was there. Seriously, I do not think that it is fair to attack the civil servants in the Scottish Office. It has carried out the processes required of it by this and the last Parliament.

Neither is it fair to attack the Clyde Port Authority, which has had to devise an alternative scheme to replace General Terminus Quay. If there are arguments against Hunterston, in favour of Ardrossan, it should be said that no one has suggested anything else beyond these two areas.