I presume that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the talks which were held yesterday and about which we were informed. It is a matter of regret that they came to nothing. Far from cold-shouldering the TUC or the CBI, I have frequently been accused in the House, of having far too many talks and working far too closely with both the TUC and the CBI, to the detriment of Parliament. I have never accepted that, but no one in the country can accuse me of cold-shouldering the TUC.
Yes, that is perfectly true. I wish that the Opposition had supported fully the initiative which we took and which I was asked to take in dealing speedily with the relativities machinery. Further, I wish that the Leader of the Opposition and his party had been prepared to say that a national strike would not be in the national interest.
Is the Prime Minister aware that we have insisted all along throughout these days that a national strike would be against the national interest? Is he further aware that if he fails to build on the preparatory work of the CBI and the TUC and does not call the parties together even now and say that the Government are prepared to see money placed on the table, on account, while the relativities board or whatever machinery is agreed looks to the longer-term problem, the responsibility for the strike will be on the obduracy of one man?
It is well within the recollection of the House that when I asked the right hon. Gentleman to stand up and tell the House that he condemned a national strike he flatly refused to do so. It is on the record, and the whole country knows it. It is absolutely clear. The right hon. Gentleman asked me to set up the relativities machinery as quickly as possible. I told both the TUC and the CBI that I would do so and that it would then immediately consider the position. Then the right hon. Gentleman ratted on everything he had said. That, too, is on the record, and everyone knows it.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I called for an urgent examination—I told him how he should do it—and not one three months long? Will he now answer the question which he dodged in his correspondence with me yesterday? The Lord President of the Council last Sunday said that there "will" be more money for the miners, and the Prime Minister wrote back and said that if certain things happened there "would" be. Is it "will" or "would"?
I sent to the right hon. Gentleman the text from which the quotation from my right hon. Friend's speech was made. My right hon. Friend said:
If the body examining them accepts all or part of the case, then of course it will mean extra money.
This, I would have thought, was quite obvious to everyone.