Docks Strike, London

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th November 1954.

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Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire 12:00 am, 11th November 1954

asked the Minister of Labour to what extent the recent London docks strike was caused by the Communist Party.

Photo of Sir Walter Monckton Sir Walter Monckton , Bristol West

I would refer the hon. Member to paragraphs 10 to 13 of the Final Report of the Court of Inquiry which I set up to investigate the causes and circumstances of the dispute in the London docks. I have nothing to add to what is said there.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Is the Minister aware that, in this 24-page report about the dock strike, there is only a very minor reference to the Communist Party, and that, in the summary of conclusions, there are 13 conclusions and no reference to the Communist Party at all? Does he not think there is too great a tendency in this country to avoid discussing the merits and getting at the real causes of industrial disputes by introducing the Communist Party every time? Does he not think that it is over-estimating the rôle of the Communist Party?

Photo of Sir Walter Monckton Sir Walter Monckton , Bristol West

I do not think it was I who brought up the question of the Communist Party, but I would point out that I have drawn the attention of the hon. Gentleman, and through him the attention of other hon. Members, to the specific passages in which the members of the court deal with this aspect. I think it is fair to summarise them in this way —that they do not suggest that Communists caused the dispute, but that they do suggest that they exploited it and expanded it.

Photo of Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke , Darwen

Will the Minister himself consider publishing the information which he has concerning the influence of Communism in this field, so that good trade unionists may know how they are being led by the nose?

Photo of Sir Walter Monckton Sir Walter Monckton , Bristol West

A good deal of the information which I have I should prefer not to publish.