Proclamation of State of Emergency

Part of Message on Behalf of the Queen – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th February 1972.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mrs Shirley Williams Mrs Shirley Williams , Hitchin 12:00 am, 9th February 1972

I am sure the Home Secretary will be aware that we have not yet seen the regulations. I trust that they will be available a little later this afternoon. I am bound to say that we on this side of the House regard this emergency as being very much of the Government's own creation, with the worsening position for employment in the steel, textiles and other industries as a result of falling stocks of coal. May I ask the Home Secretary, first, whether the Government now intend to make an effort to solve the coal strike by means of allowing the National Coal Board to make an additional—a fresh offer?

May I ask him, secondly—he will understand that I must ask this question tentatively because we have not seen the regulations—whether the Government have any intention of using the Armed Forces in a situation which might involve them in moving through picket lines, and whether he is aware of the considerable crisis this would bring, granted the history of the coal mining industry?

May I ask him, thirdly, whether, in the light of the statement made by the Miniser for Industry yesterday, when he said that the question of public order rested with the police, the Government are not now asking the police to undertake an impossible task, in the light of public sympathy, and feeling among the miners?