Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 20th May 1982.

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Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale 3:30 pm, 20th May 1982

First, I thank the Leader of the House for arranging today's debate on the Falklands crisis. We may need another debate on the subject in the next few days or at the beginning of next week. I am sure that he will make that arrangement if it becomes necessary. I thank him also for providing us with the document for which we asked as part of the background to the debate that we shall have today.

Secondly, what does the right hon. Gentleman propose to do to provide a similar facility in preparation for the debate next Wednesday on the crisis in the Common Market which the right hon. Lady the Prime Minister has described as extremely serious and without precedent? Will there be a statement on the Government's reaction to that development before the debate? In view of the seriousness of the position that the right hon. Lady has described, I should have thought that that was the best way for the House to approach the matter.

Thirdly, there is an extremely important and urgent matter which, were it not for the other crises facing us, would dominate our thoughts. It is the major crisis that is developing in British Rail that has been sparked off by the board's decision on railway workshop closures which come on top of the financial restrictions that have been placed on the board by the Government. As the House will adjourn at the end of next week if the proposals of the Leader of the House are accepted, there could be movement towards industrial action before the House returns. Therefore, will the right hon. Gentleman make absolutely sure that a statement of Government policy on the matter is made at the beginning of next week? It appears that that is the only way in which a grievous industrial problem can be avoided.