Orders of the Day — State of Emergency

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th November 1973.

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Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham 12:00 am, 15th November 1973

We had sufficient chaos under the Labour Government for them to introduce "In Place of Strife". The then Prime Minister and his Ministers said that that document was essential to the life of the community.

As for the hon. Gentleman's other point, the code in phase 3 has been passed by this House. [Interruption.] Yes, it has been passed by the House, and in a democratic society it demands the respect of all our people. I shall be interested to hear whether Labour Members deny that fact. If they do, they should say so clearly.

It should also be pointed out that the phase 3 arrangements provide flexibility to give above-average increases to those—such as the miners and many people engaged in the public services and those undertaking other types of work—who, because of unsocial hours and so forth, work in difficult conditions. It provides an offer to the miners which by any standards of the past is extremely generous. It is also fair to point out that the present miners' agreement, by their consent, runs until next March. Therefore, they are imposing this overtime ban four months at least before their present agreement runs out and needs to be replaced by a new one. It would not be unreasonable for people of this country to say "Before you impose this sort of hardship upon us, you ought to try to negotiate a bit further to reach a solution without this sort of national crisis being created." If the Opposition are prepared to take that view, then the whole country will welcome it; but if they are not, then they can account to the country for their actions. I have little doubt how the country will regard them.