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 continuing industrial dispute that has halted ferry services operated by Caledonian MacBrayne on the River Clyde.
Several thousand people who live in the island communities that are affected by this dispute are now facing severe difficulties as a result—[Interruption.]
Agricultural and feeding stocks are almost running out; some consumer goods are becoming increasingly short in supply; passengers in both directions are stranded; and the Easter tourist trade is threatened. We have had the extraordinary intervention of the Royal Navy on a strike-breaking foray, which is unlikely to encourage an early settlement. Islanders are offended—[Interruption.]
Islanders are offended by the intransigence that has been shown by the Scottish Transport Group management, are suspicous of the political motivation that might be behind management's hard line and are sympathetic to the seamen who serve these communities well and who now face substantial cuts in earnings along with the imposition of anti-social rosters.
I pay tribute to the efforts of ACAS to bring the parties together. In the light of the Scottish Office's abdication of concern on other fronts, it is perhaps pious to hope that it should care tuppence for the problems being faced by beleaguered islanders. But Caledonian MacBrayne is a state-owned company that is under the control of the Secretary of State for Scotland. A debate on the Floor of the House could help to bring the issue to a speedy conclusion.
The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,
the industrial dispute involving ferry services on the River Clyde.
I have listened with care to what the hon. Member has said, but I regret that the matter that he has raised is not appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20. I hope that he will find other means of bringing it before the House.