My right hon. Friend indicated in his statement on 22nd November—[Vol. 864, c. 1562–8]—that the Council had held a first exchange of views on the Commission's proposals for the improvement of the common agricultural policy. At the meeting on 10th and 11th December the Council had a further discussion on the proposals for individual commodities.
I think the House will agree that my right hon. Friend has invariably taken the House into his confidence when he has made a statement about the meetings. Of course, any question of a debate is not a matter for me, but I shall pass on the hon. Gentleman's request to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.
Will my hon. Friend confirm that at the Council of Ministers' meeting on 10th and 11th December the rejection of Commissioner Lardinois' proposal of a milk tax, already expressed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, was endorsed by the other Ministers of Agriculture who were present?
How long will it take the Government to realise that the House is dissatisfied with the procedure whereunder Ministers communicate decisions taken by the Council of Ministers? When will he come to the House with the Government's proposals for the reform of the common agricultural policy so that we can express our views upon them?
It is fair to point out that my right hon. Friend has given the House his views on various matters. Before going to the recent meeting he made clear what his views on the milk proposals were.
Does my hon. Friend agree that a great deal of credit should be reflected on my right hon. Friend the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for the initiative that he took that resulted in the proposals for the reform of the common agricultural policy? On the other hand, does he agree that many of those proposals will have to be amended? Does he also agree that there would be a great chance of this country achieving what it wants if hon. Gentlemen opposite were prepared to play a part in the European Parliament?
Will the Minister confirm that on 10th and 11th December his right hon. Friend put forward a proposal calling for a reduction in the common external tariff on imported foodstuffs? If he did, what reaction did it provoke? Will he also tell us whether his right hon. Friend will make his customary statement on the course of negotiations?
It is perfectly correct that my right hon. Friend put forward that suggestion. The reaction to it, as I think would be expected among a Community of Nine, was not entirely unanimous. I am quite certain that my right hon. Friend would have been here to answer this Question today had he not had an appointment that I assure the right hon. Gentleman he could not break.