Lieut-Colonel David Mather: asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Anglo-American relations.
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: What are the right hon. Gentleman's views on the future of American military bases in this country? Does he not feel that these are important factors in cementing Anglo-American relations and for the future of NATO as a whole?
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the implementation of the road programme.
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: Will the right hon. Gentleman give a date for the start of the Esher bypass, bearing in mind that this idea was conceived 30 years ago and we are still waiting for it?
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the security situation in Northern Ireland.
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: On Monday last the right hon. Gentleman said that he had no intention of increasing the present number of British troops in Northern Ireland. If that is true it will be difficult to step up security with that number of troops. Will he consider local resources of manpower and, in particular, the Ulster Defence Regiment? Will he consider whether it is possible to establish regular units or...
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: Is it not customary to pull out the good things in a maiden speech and ignore those things with which one does not agree? Would not that be a more generous way of responding to a maiden speech?
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that he will need the support of one party or the other to achieve his aim?
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: The hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Ross) in his maiden speech described himself as a blunt and honest person. He certainly made a blunt and forthright speech, as perhaps one might expect from someone who comes from Londonderry. He perhaps realises, when he says that he blames this House for everything that has happened in Northern Ireland, that from now on he must accept his share of blame...
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: I thank the hon. Gentleman for what he said. I am in favour of flexibility, which is what we tried to achieve when the Conservatives had responsibility in Northern Ireland. What I was criticising was the announcement of a policy of gradual withdrawal. It is a strange time to make such an announcement, although I am as keen as is the hon. Gentleman to withdraw as many troops as possible as...
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the number of ship-day visits to the Indian Ocean area during the past year by naval forces from Great Britain; and if he is satisfied with this number in comparison with the visits paid by the United States of America and Russia, respectively.
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: In view of the reports that the Seychelles is asking for independence, may I ask whether the hon. Gentleman is seeking exclusive facilities in the Seychelles for British naval vessels following that country's independence?
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: Will the Leader of the House confirm or deny reports in the Daily Mirror this morning that if there is to be a General Election in July or August those on holiday in Wakes Weeks will be allowed a delayed vote?
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: On a point of order. May I ask your advice, Mr. Speaker? The Leader of the House a short time ago answered a Question of mine, confirming that the Prime Minister was asking officials to prepare a Bill to allow for a delayed vote for those away on holiday during wakes weeks in the North in July and August. May I ask whether such a thing can be done without it going before the Speaker's...
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: Mr. Carol Mather (Esher) rose—
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: Mr. Mather rose—
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: The hon. Gentleman is quoting all sorts of precedents. Is it not true that precedents are used as a guide in an existing situation? As we have no idea what the situation will be, is not this pure speculation and an utter waste of time?
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: That related to wakes week. It was to be a special arrangement for industrial towns in the North of England affected by wakes week and, apparently, was to apply to no other town in the country.
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: Is it not true that Lord Hunt, who undertook an inquiry into this matter, now takes the view that, following subsequent events, he believes that he was mistaken in disbanding the B Specials?
Lieut-Colonel David Mather: Perhaps my hon. Friend realises that many Labour Members have been fishing in the troubled waters of Northern Ireland for a very long time, even before 1969—in fact from 1964 onwards. They have been over there and taken part in civil rights marches and have stirred matters up. Those civil rights marches gave place to the troubles in 1969, and by their action they made it possible for the...