Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 15th July 1982.

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Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale 3:30 pm, 15th July 1982

I should like to put three matters to the right hon. Gentleman. I asked him a week or so ago for a statement on the sale of BNOC assets and the steps to be taken to avoid a repetition of the fiasco of Amersham International. It was indicated that the Government were not yet ready to make a statement. The Opposition want a statement as speedily as possible. Even if the Secretary of State for Energy has not yet concluded his proposals, we feel that he must make a statement before the House adjourns for the recess. By one means or another, we must avoid the scandal that occurred over the Amersham sale.

The unemployment figures show every sign that they will be sustained at the same appalling rate when they are next announced. I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will now respond to the request that I have made on several occasions that there should be a debate on unemployment in Government time before the recess.

On the issue of the railways, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will have consultations with the Prime Minister about the letter sent by Mr. Sidney Weighell to the Secretary of State for Transport to which I referred a few minutes ago. The right hon. Gentleman will see that the letter makes a serious charge against the Secretary of State for Transport who should in any case come to the House to make a statement upon it. What the Opposition want is a response to the proposal that Mr. Weighell includes in the letter for an initiative by the Government to help to deal with the growing railway crisis.