Will my hon. Friend confirm that other people—namely, the Common Market—have intent in that direction? Will he give an undertaking of the Government's total commitment to retain a statutory milk marketing scheme for all parts of the United Kingdom, and confirm that at the end of the argument the Government will, if need be, use their much-vaunted veto to stop the dismantling of the milk marketing scheme?
I shall bear my hon. Friend's views in mind. There is a great deal of pride in the way in which our Milk Marketing Board and the other boards carry out their functions. Membership of the Community necessitates changes in marketing arrangements for a number of commodities. Our aim is to maintain the functions of the marketing boards, including the MMB, which are essential to the orderly marketing of the products concerned.
Is the Minister aware that our milk marketing boards have had a record second to none, stretching back over 44 successful years? Will he impress on his EEC partners that if they could do as good a selling job as the milk marketing hoards of Britain have done there would be no butter or skimmed milk mountains in Europe today?
Does my hon. Friend accept that even those of us on the Labour Benches who are commonly referred to as Euro-fanatics do not believe that everything in the common agricultural policy is right, and that we too throw our weight behind the determination which I hope exists in my hon. Friend's breast, concealed though that determination may be, to preserve the Milk Marketing Board and persuade our partners to adopt something similar?
My right hon. Friend has given assurances on this matter. We believe that the maintenance of our market and of the pattern of distribution enables the milk boards to maintain a high average return to producers consistent with reasonable consumer prices. We shall bear these points in mind.