I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,
the threat of civil unrest resulting from the rapidly deteriorating relations between the police force and the Government".
It is a specific matter because my submission is prompted by the ballot this morning amongst the Hampshire county police constables that was declared just before midday today. In an 80 per cent. poll of mature, responsible and moderate police constables, 1,115 voted for and 578 voted against a motion sponsored by the Police Federation of South Wales which would seek to give the police, as a condition of service, the right to withdraw their labour subject to there being a ballot before such withdrawal of labour was implemented.
The stability and tranquillity of the realm is surely the first priority of any Government, and that is threatened by the mounting anger and frustration that the police force feel about the Government's handling of its pay claim.
The matter is urgent because the Hampshire ballot today is similar to that which took place in Lincolnshire the day before yesterday. Each new ballot adds to the possibility of an ugly confrontation. The Hampshire police force is among the most moderate in the land.
This is not a party issue. Parliament must give a message to the Government that they must deal with the police claim with the same spirit of co-operation as that with which they handled the seamen's claim. That is the reason that I raise the matter today.