Picketing

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th April 1974.

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Photo of John Stanley John Stanley , Tonbridge and Malling 12:00 am, 30th April 1974

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received on the subject of picketing since his statement of 22nd March.

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Mr. Hayhoe) on 9th' April.—[Vol. 872, c. 83.]

Photo of John Stanley John Stanley , Tonbridge and Malling

Will the Minister explain how he reconciles his support of the principle that picketing should be peaceful, in his statement on 22nd March, with the proposed granting of the right of pickets to obstruct the passage of motor vehicles?

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

If the hon. Gentleman will read the Bill published today he will find that we are not making any such proposal. Pickets are to be given immunity in contemplation and furtherance of trades disputes. This can be used only in a peaceful way. The question of the right to picket vehicles is under careful consideration, and I hope to see that provision introduced in a later employment protection measure.

Photo of Mr David Waddington Mr David Waddington , Nelson and Colne

We know that there is nothing about this absurd proposal in the Bill. We want to know whether the hon. Gentleman still agrees with the absurd suggestion that a man should be required to stop and listen to arguments to which he does not want to listen. What philosophy inspires that extraordinary notion?

Photo of Mr Albert Booth Mr Albert Booth , Barrow-in-Furness

The basic right to seek to persuade somebody to desist from breaking or harming a dispute can be fully practised in modern terms only if it includes the right to communicate with the driver of a vehicle seeking to enter premises where a dispute is taking place.