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 Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Rother Valley 12:00 am, 15th November 1973

I doubt whether they will condemn them. I wrote to the Prime Minister on this subject at the end of August and referred to this information, as well as to several other problems, including housing, affecting my constituency. Various answers were given about the housing problems, but that report was not referred to in the reply. If the developers of luxury office blocks can ignore the law and the national need, miners in my constituency and elsewhere will not moderate their demands. They will not, because they are in the public sector, accept less than people in other and perhaps not so necessary occupations.

I believe that we must maintain an adequate coal industry, and unless we are prepared to pay people at the going rate to work in that industry we shall certainly not be acting very wisely.

Unfortunately, the Government have acted insensitively in introducing this emergency legislation within 24 hours of the miners' overtime ban commencing. It seems to me and it will seem to many in the mining industry and the mining communities—the two should be put together—that the Government are playing party politics with this issue in a way which is more serious than the suggestion that some miners' leaders would like to see the Government destroyed 7 he Government are seeking to establish a smokescreen, a cover-up, an excuse, because of the international energy crisis and their own serious economic situation.

The miners will not be prepared to accept the full responsibility for the Government's economic failures. If the Government are relying on whipping up hatred, detestation and unpleasant public reaction to the miners and the mining communities, they will be responsible for the generation of a greater degree of bitterness than that which was general in the mining areas in my earlier years.