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Gartcosh Steel Mill

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:12 pm on 23rd January 1986.

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Photo of Mr David Lambie Mr David Lambie , Cunninghame South 6:12 pm, 23rd January 1986

I thought that all the right hon. and learned Gentleman's arguments were in the opposite direction. He was not speaking about Ravenscraig, he was listing the reasons for closing Gartcosh. I put that to the right hon. and hon. Members who were present during his speech.

As Chairman of the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs I have a duty to put our recommendation on the record. Although it has been mentioned, no one has stated exactly what was finally recommended by an overwhelming majority: we are not convinced that Gartcosh and Ravenscraig can be treated as separate entities, as BSC asserts. We therefore recommend that any guarantee given to Ravenscraig be extended to include Gartcosh". That recommendation had all-party support. Only two hon. Members voted against the final report—the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) and the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth). Those two hon. Members are completely discredited in Scotland and are completely out of touch not only with Labour party opinion in Scotland, but with Conservative opinion, as the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Munro) has just shown.

To show deep feeling is in Scotland about the closure of Gartcosh, the officials of the Conservative and Unionist Association in Cunninghame, South have stated that they will resign on 31 March if Gartcosh is closed and that they will not put up a candidate against me in the next general election. I am happy about that, as long as they vote for me as well as not put up a candidate.

On 7 August 1985 the closure of the Gartcosh mill was announced. It was unfortunate that the previous Secretary of State for Scotland hailed that decision as a victory for Scotland because he said that it guaranteed the future for Ravenscraig. I could have accepted that if I had not known the people in the BSC with whom I have been dealing during my period as a Member of Parliament.

Chairmen of the BSC come and go. Even Ministers come and go, and now they are coming and going with greater regularity than ever. As a Member of Parliament, I have seen many chairmen in my time, but unfortunately Bob Scholey, now the chairman-elect of BSC, is still there. He is the man with the power, and he now has greater power than ever before.