Oil Companies (Government Participation Proposals)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prices and Consumer Protection – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd February 1976.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Harold Lever Mr Harold Lever , Manchester Central 12:00 am, 2nd February 1976

My hon. Friends cannot have it both ways. They cannot argue, on the one hand, that BP should have independence of commercial operation and, on the other, assume that it is a Government Department for the purposes of negotiation. It is an entirely independent company, in the way that has been frequently explained in the House. Apart from the companies that I have mentioned, we are having very promising discussions with a great many other companies. I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) will be agreeably surprised, if he can contain himself with reasonable patience, having regard to the crucial character of these assets for the people who are operating in the area and for the enormous sums of money they have to put in. If my hon. Friend will have a little patience, he will give me time to reconcile the legitimate interests of the Government and the British people and the legitimate interests of the oil companies.