§ 48. Mr. Canavan
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what are his official engagements for 30th January.
§ The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Harold Lever)
Apart from my duties in this House, I have meetings today with my officials.
§ Mr. Canavan
Will my right hon. Friend find time today to tell us whether he still has any advisory responsibility for negotiating the participation agreements with the oil companies in the North Sea? Will the BNOC have a chance of getting a real controlling equity stake in the new discoveries instead of some of the "phoney" participation agreements to which my right hon. Friend agreed in the previous round of negotiations?
§ Mr. Lever
I am happy to tell my hon. Friend that I sometimes participate in collective decisions in this area. I do not accept that the previous participation agreements entered into by the Secretary of State for Energy were in any sense bogus or "phoney". Nor do I accept that the new agreements that will be negotiated in somewhat different circumstances will be any less valuable to the country than the previous ones.
§ Mr. Lever
It will be only lack of time that will circumscribe my epistolary efforts as regards the director of the Fund. If I were writing a letter, I am sure that I should state that a proper balance would continue to be maintained between personal and private expenditure and the very valuable public expenditures that we have carefully surveyed and authorised.