I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,
the proposed loss of 700 jobs at the Eric Bemrose plant in Liverpool announced yesterday.
The plant is actually in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), and he has taken an active interest—[Interruption.]
My hon. Friend the Member for Walton is taking an active interest in support of the workers at the plant and has kindly agreed that I should raise this matter from my constituency viewpoint.
The matter is extremely important because the losses will add to the already unacceptably high unemployment that we are experiencing on Merseyside. Therefore, every effort must be made to prevent the job losses. It is also specific to my constituency as my local authority, Knowsley borough council, together with the Department of Trade and Industry, was at a very advanced stage in negotiating a financial package that would have involved moving part of the operations from a site in Knowsley to a new plant with up-to-date technology.
The company concerned is part of News International, a group which, as the House is well aware, has a less than happy recent history in these matters. The people of Merseyside, not least those in the trade unions, are anxious that the position should not develop along lines similar to the recent Wapping dispute. We hope that the whole issue can be discussed and debated to see whether the devastating decision can be reversed. To that end, I hope that the proposed move to the Knowsley site can be examined and discussed more fully before any irrevocable steps are taken.
The matter is specific and important. It would be thoroughly irresponsible not to discuss fully all the alternatives to closure. I hope that the House will have an opportunity to do that.
The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,
the proposed loss of some 700 jobs at the Bemrose plant in Liverpool.
I have listened with great care to what the hon. Member has said, but I regret that I do not consider that the matter he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20 and I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.