Orders of the Day — Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:39 pm on 1st April 1982.

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Photo of Mr Charles Morris Mr Charles Morris , Manchester Openshaw 10:39 pm, 1st April 1982

The debate has taken its predictable course. A number of major and crucially important issues have been raised by hon. Members on both sides of the House. Some hon. Members have adduced seemingly compelling reasons why the House should not adjourn. Then, as you can observe, Mr. Deputy Speaker, they have disappeared from the Chamber, presumably lest they were taken at their word.

I wish to pursue a number of the points raised. I was impressed by the contribution of my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick). He raised the two important issues of unemployment and of the need for an early parliamentary statement on the report from the observers at the elections that have just been completed in El Salvador. The decision to despatch British observers involves the status and standing of this country. The House is not being unreasonable in demanding an early statement.

My hon. Friend said that 61 per cent. of the people unemployed in the West Midlands have been unemployed for six months or more. The same argument applies to the North-West, the Northern region, South Yorkshire, Scotland and Wales. Economists talk of the contraction of manufacturing industry. Most of our manufacturing is in the regions. We have seen the virtual collapse of manufacturing in the regions. Men over 40 who are declared redundant may never work again. Parents see their children still searching for their first job. That is the real cause of concern. The Government treat unemployment as inevitable. Our constituents do not accept as inevitable. They demand Government action to deal with the problem.

I was impressed by the sincere contribution of my hon. Friend the Member for Tooting (Mr. Cox), who highlighted two problems. The first was soliciting. He drew attention to a legal contradiction. Legal action is taken against women found guilty of soliciting, yet men guilty of kerb crawling do not attract legal action except in isolated cases.

My hon. Friend also drew attention to the continuing crisis in Cyprus. The Government joined in sanctions against the Soviet Union because it invaded Afghanistan. It is a contradiction for them not to take action as a guarantor power over the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The Government are anxious to get Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. They should be even handed and try to persuade the Turks to get their troops out of Cyprus.