Ravenscraig Steelworks

– in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 12th July 1988.

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Photo of Mr Harry Ewing Mr Harry Ewing , Falkirk East 3:35 pm, 12th July 1988

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, that I have not had the opportunity to give you notice of my intention to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20, but the action that provokes me into doing so has taken place only in the last few minutes, and I take the view that Standing Order No. 20 should be flexible enough to take account of anything that happens before the time at which the Adjournment is moved. Therefore, I beg leave to move the Adjournment——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I am sorry, but I do not believe that anything new has taken place since 12 o'clock today. I listened carefully to the Prime Minister's reply, and, as I understood it, she was reading out what had been stated previously. I cannot hear a Standing Order No. 20 application arising out of that question.

Photo of Mr Brian Wilson Mr Brian Wilson , Cunninghame North

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Can you give us some guidance? There is more to a statement than the mere words read from a bit of paper, and Opposition Members feel that what we heard from the Prime Minister about Ravenscraig is of extreme urgency and importance to many hon. Members and many people in Scotland. We must have an opportunity to debate the matter.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

There are opportunities to debate the matter. There are Opposition days, Adjournment debates and Questions.

Several Hon. Members:

rose——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I will hear the hon. Members as long as they realise that they are putting in jeopardy—[Interruption.] Order. I am on my feet. —the equal claims of their colleagues, many of whom wish to take part in two very important Opposition day debates.

Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I doubt if I can give an answer to the hon. Gentleman, but I will take his point of order.

Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East

I shall be very brief, Mr. Speaker. The point that must be grasped is that the statement read out by the Prime Minister gives the impression that the remark by the chairman of British Steel was not, as was widely reported, some sort of gaffe. Having given that statement credence, we consider it fundamentally important for us to hear a statement from an Industry Minister to clear the matter up. Can you help the House and ask the Leader of the House to call an Industry Minister to appear before us?

Photo of Mr John Taylor Mr John Taylor , Solihull

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it necessary for us to be so solicitous to these points of order, bearing in mind that Opposition Members are absorbing their own speaking time because, as usual, they have not enough speakers to support their business?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

I think that the whole House appreciates —I certainly do—that this is an important matter for hon. Members who represent constituents who work at Ravenscraig. I cannot help the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang), but I am sure that what has been said has been heard and noted on the Front Bench.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. If I hear the hon. Gentleman, I shall have to take it into account very carefully later.

Photo of John Reid John Reid , Motherwell North

I appreciate that, Mr. Speaker. I assure you that I do not wish to put in jeopardy the chances of other hon. Members to make a contribution, but it must be understood that 20,000 Scottish jobs appear to have been put in jeopardy today. I should like to submit an application under Standing Order No. 20. I shall explain to you, Mr. Speaker——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I cannot hear such an application, for the reasons that I have already given.