Mr Geraint Howells: I am sure that the Secretary of State knows that the people of Wales demand their own Parliament within the United Kingdom. On reflection, which position would the Secretary of State like to hold in that Parliament?
Mr Geraint Howells: To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 14 December.
Mr Geraint Howells: Will the Prime Minister consider devolving power to the people of Wales in the early 1990s, as the majority of Welsh Members in this place are in favour of a Welsh Parliament? Will she ensure that the voice of Wales, as a nation, will be heard in Europe because we, the Welsh, believe that we should play a major role in the Community in the 1990s?
Mr Geraint Howells: To be fair to the British farming industry for once, and that includes myself, does the Minister agree that British farmers are producing healthier food in the 1990s than they ever have in this century?
Mr Geraint Howells: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received about the importation of toxic waste bound for the Rechem incineration plant.
Mr Geraint Howells: I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Can he confirm that the Germans are not keen to install a similar plant in their country as they believe that it is not safe? If that is so, what plans does the Minister have to safeguard the interests of the Welsh people?
Mr Geraint Howells: As a very small business man, Mr. Deputy Speaker, may I begin by declaring my interest, as usual, and thanking you for calling me in this important debate for the small business man. This country was built up by the vigour and enterprise of small businesses and the self-employed, but they are now being squeezed to death by the power of the big battalions and the lack of concern of the...
Mr Geraint Howells: The hon. Lady did not help many small businesses when she was a Minister. I do not blame Conservative Members if they want to criticise the Lib-Lab pact. They may criticise the Liberals as much as they like, but we are still here. May I remind them that our former leader, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale (Sir D. Steel), did something for small businesses...
Mr Geraint Howells: British agriculture is facing a major financial crisis, which is one of the worst since the war. As a part-time farmer, I am pleased that you have called me so early in this important debate, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The situation is so serious that we have gone beyond attempting to make a political point today; instead, we are trying to persuade the Minister to do his utmost on our behalf. Many...
Mr Geraint Howells: I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for raising that important matter. As the Minister is sitting and listening to his comments, I am sure that he will take heed of what my hon. and learned Friend has just said. Something must be done to help young farmers before it is too late. The point has been made again and again that, while other industries gain export advantages at a time when...
Mr Geraint Howells: Of course. It is well-known in the agricultural industry that the disease has been in Britain for 40 or 50 years, and the previous Labour Government knew about it, just like the present Government. Anyone who disputes that does not know much about cattle. It is worth making the point that research into the control and eradication of such diseases should be a top priority and that the...
Mr Geraint Howells: Yes, indeed. The matter is so serious that all Ministers with responsibility for agriculture should go to Brussels with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. I wish the Minister and his colleagues the best in their deliberations in Brussels to safeguard the interests of agriculture.
Mr Geraint Howells: With respect, I think that the industry, farmers, vets and the Ministry have known of this disease for the past decade or two.
Mr Geraint Howells: To put the record straight, I did say for the past 50 years, but if the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) wants me to go further, I can say for the past 60 years.
Mr Geraint Howells: I stand by what I said. I would never have expected the hon. Gentleman, who is a farmer, to be so dull and ignorant of the facts.
Mr Geraint Howells: Does the Minister agree that farmers find it very difficult to pursue any policy because of high interest rates? Will he give a glimmer of hope to farmers that interest rates will be lowered some time this year?
Mr Geraint Howells: To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 15 February.
Mr Geraint Howells: I am sure that the Prime Minister is aware that 10,000 farmers and farm workers leave the land every year. Will she tell the consumers of this country who will produce their food requirements by the turn of the century and what she intends to do about this very serious problem?
Mr Geraint Howells: Will the Minister meet representatives of local authorities in mid-Wales, as many of them are keen to establish a Mid Wales health authority based on Bronglais hospital, Aberystwyth?
Mr Geraint Howells: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on the present state of the sheep industry.