George Lyon: That is the answer to the question; the important thing is the way in which UK policy is formulated and developed. Let us not forget that the UK has 10 votes at the table—10 votes out of 87 and 10 votes that go towards a minority blocking position of 26. Compared with the voting power of some of the smaller nations that start with three votes, we have a significant and powerful position at...
George Lyon: I have only four minutes and have already take two interceptions.
George Lyon: I have one more point about the relationship with Brussels. The UK representative office is the key organisation in Brussels for delivering UK policy, controlling the way in which we engage with the European Commission and with other countries. It is vital that Scotland House officials should be fully integrated into the UK representative office, and I would like the minister to detail how...
George Lyon: To ask the Scottish Executive what steps it is taking to resolve the current situation at Oban hospital, where Argyll and Clyde Acute Hospital Trust is unable to accept the North British Hotel Group's offer of a computed axial tomography scanner because the trust does not have the funding to meet staffing and running costs. (S1O-423)
George Lyon: To ask the Scottish Executive what representations it is making or intends to make to Her Majesty’s Government with regards to Oban and Pentland coastguard stations, and in particular, what measures it will propose to safeguard the future of these stations.
George Lyon: Will the member give way?
George Lyon: Will the minister reflect on the damage that has been done to Scottish fishing interests and our wider interests in Europe by William Hague's extremely damaging argument that we should enter a tit-for-tat trade war with France over the illegal French beef ban? That position, which is supported by Scottish Tories here, is completely against Scotland's wider interests and threatens the...
George Lyon: The question, clearly, is how much damage has been done to Scottish fishing interests in Europe.
George Lyon: To ask the Scottish Executive what its estimate is of the increase in money for education that will be available in 2000-01 to Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire councils as a consequence of the £80 million extra spending for education announced by the Minister for Finance on 6 October. (S1O-461)
George Lyon: Will the minister repeat his answer, as I could not hear it?
George Lyon: Does the minister agree that the additional money will help Argyll and Bute Council to think again about its proposals to close as many as 10 rural schools? Can he guarantee that while the money will be ring-fenced for education, it will be left to local authorities to determine their own education priorities?
George Lyon: In view of Mr McLetchie's previous answer, does the First Minister agree that, if William Hague's idea of standing up for industries in Scotland and Britain in Europe is to advocate an illegal trade war, that will result in a tit-for-tat action that will destroy jobs and the whole of the rural economy if it escalates out of control?
George Lyon: I welcome the minister's agreement to accept Mr Swinney's amendment, in which he made some valid points about the need to monitor closely performance of the Scottish university for industry. I broadly welcome the proposals for this new organisation, which is a worthwhile initiative that attempts to link the needs of business and industry to the education and training network. In this day and...
George Lyon: —was the need for people to be away from the business for days at a time, travelling to attend courses. The university for industry must reassure the small business community that it will come up with innovative and workable methods to make training flexible and accessible. Above all, it must convince small businesses that it is profitable to invest in people.
George Lyon: A couple of sentences—
George Lyon: The SNP's Alex Salmond and Mrs Ewing advocated throughout 1996 and 1997 that we should follow the same principles that were applied to the special deal under which the Northern Irish export ban was lifted. Can Mr Morgan tell us how many tonnes of beef are being exported from Northern Ireland as a result of that scheme, and how many firms are engaged in that process?
George Lyon: rose—
George Lyon: Will Alex Johnstone give way?
George Lyon: To pursue your line of absolving yourself from any responsibility, do you agree with William Waldegrave, who stated on a television programme the other night that he was ashamed of the Major Government's handling of the BSE crisis? He said that the Major Government turned the BSE crisis into an anti-European crusade to satisfy Eurosceptic back benchers. Do you agree with that sentiment?
George Lyon: Will the member give way?