HC Deb 16 February 1987 vol 110 cc645-6
7. Mr. Simon Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what representations he has received concerning the implications for energy policy of the report of the Layfield committee into the proposed Sizewell B pressurised water reactor.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

My right hon. Friend has received a number of letters about Sir Frank Layfield's report.

Mr. Hughes

I am grateful to the Minister for his staightforward answer. May I pursue a matter already touched on by the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam)? Will it be possible to have the OPCS and medical review on the leukaemia link before our debate next Monday? The Minister knows that there is pressure for that, despite the answer about the precis given by the Secretary of State for Social Services. Would it be possible to obtain information about the post-Chernobyl review, about which I expect the Minister has received certain representations, before the debate next Monday? The House will want to be as fully informed as possible, and it would be helpful for hon. Members to have the full information before we debate Sizewell.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

We have briefly discussed the report this afternoon, but it is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. I note what the hon. Gentleman said on the other matter. I assure him that my right hon. Friend will consider these important issues before he comes to a decision.

Mr. Leigh

Further to the question by the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), do not the residents of Aberdeen receive more radiation from the granite out of which their houses are made than the residents of Sizewell receive from the power station?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

My constituency covers part of Aberdeen and a large area of the Cairngorms, where the predominant rock is granite. I have not, so far as I am aware, been badly affected yet.

Mr. Haynes

Is the Minister aware that I have had plenty of representations about nuclear power in my constituency, bearing in mind that it is a mining constituency? The Minister stands there speaking with a forked tongue, because he says one thing at the Dispatch Box but other things when he is in the Department. Why does he not come clean and give the people, rather than the individual hon. Member, the opportunity to decide? His Government have a majority of over 100 and can totally ignore me.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I assure the hon. Gentleman that I would never dream of speaking to him with a forked tongue. I am sure that when we debate these matters the hon. Gentleman will be ready to make his own contribution.

Mr. Adley

Would it not be helpful if members of the Liberal party were a little more careful with their language? When the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) refers to the leukaemia link, he presumably means the alleged leukaemia link, which in my right hon. Friend's answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) was clearly shown not to be a link at all in terms of harmful health problems. Will my right hon. Friend therefore encourage people to be aware that CND and others are constantly trying to denigrate the civil nuclear power industry through this alleged link between leukaemia and nuclear power stations, which is patent nonsense?

Mr. Buchannan-Smith

I am sympathetic to what my hon. Friend has said and I could not agree more. It pays, when reports are complex and important, to read and analyse them properly and not to come to instant conclusions.

Mr. Orme

Has Sir Frank Layfield written to the Secretary of State to raise the matter of the Chernobyl disaster, which was not covered in the Layfield report, and will we have a statement before the debate next Monday?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will be speaking in the debate next Monday, when the right hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity to put his point.