The CAP advisory group is not a Government body and has no formal standing within Government. It was created by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to advise him personally. In those circumstances, there was no reason for me to comment on the membership of the group.
Given that the CAP advisory group will, in the Government's own words, have a significant impact on the development of policy and new thinking on the issue, why does the group not include even one person who is actively involved in Scottish agriculture? And how does the Secretary of State explain why the Scottish Office has been represented at only four of the 50 Council of Ministers meetings in Europe, in a minor role, and never on agriculture? Is that not a disgraceful way to treat the Scottish agricultural industry?
The hon. Gentleman clearly does not understand the concept of Scotland as a member of the United Kingdom, deriving benefits from its membership of the United Kingdom both in the European Community and at home. Scottish Office officials are fully involved in the CAP advisory group and fully aware of what is going on. They advise Scottish Office Ministers as appropriate. The group has no responsibilities for policy-making, which remains entirely a matter for Ministers.