Does not the Prime Minister agree that, however much oil is discovered in the Rockall area, coal will continue to play a strategic part in the nation's short-term and long-term energy requirements? Is he not aware that it is a prerequisite to any solution of the current difficulties with the NUM that that fact be recognised? Does not the right hon. Gentleman feel that the Government ought to make a clear statement on this issue at the earliest possible moment?
The Government have made a clear statement about it. We have produced a policy for coal which has committed £1,100 million of taxpayers' money to the coal industry. That is not just words; it is a firm financial commitment. As I have reminded the House, after that Mr. Gormley himself said, "Now it is up to the miners to produce the goods".
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the oil that we shall discover in the Rockall-Hatton basin will mean the difference between this country continuing to be reliant on external supplies and becoming entirely self-reliant? Should not the British Government now be prepared to support the new technology which will be required to exploit this asset?
At this juncture will the right hon. Gentleman make a distinct response to the United States Secretary of State's overtures to the effect that the United States would be willing to cooperate in surveying the ocean bed? Will not the right hon. Gentleman concede that this is most pertinent to the situation that is likely to be encountered in the Rockall-Hatton bank area?