May I warmly congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his appointment as Lord President and Leader of the House? Is it safe to assume that he was quite happy not to be designated deputy Prime Minister, given the fate of his predecessor? We regret the departure of the right hon. and learned Member for Surrey, East (Sir G. Howe) from his position as Leader of the House. I believe not only that he wanted to reform and modernise the House and its procedures but that he sought always to carry the House with him in what he was seeking to do. I place on record our appreciation of that. However, I certainly wish the new Leader of the House well in his new position.
May I reiterate my request for an oral statement at the earliest opportunity on the implications of the Cullen inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster? Will the Leader of the House accept that the comments of certain oil companies on North sea oil safety requirements and request from employees sit ill beside the statement today that Shell profits have increased by 70 per cent? Are the Government content with that level of profit taking by oil companies in all the circumstances of the Gulf crisis? Can we have a statement on that subject, too, from the Secretary of State for Energy? I believe that many people in Britain will be angry, given the increases in prices that they have had to face, to learn that profits have increased by 70 per cent. No doubt similar profit increases will be reflected when other companies announce their returns.
Finally, are the Government happy about the proposed merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting? Are not there some serious consequences for broadcasting in Britain in that proposed merger? Can we have a statement at the earliest opportunity about the proposal from the appropriate Minister, who I understand is the Secretary of State for the Home Department?