Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:14 pm on 23rd January 1992.

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Photo of Mr Hector Monro Mr Hector Monro , Dumfries 8:14 pm, 23rd January 1992

It is impossible to listen to the remarks of the hon. Member for Motherwell, South (Dr. Bray) without appreciating his knowledge and sincerity. I assure him that we feel for him as he obviously feels for his constituents.

Before dealing with the subject of the debate, I must say that, on a day when we have had such wonderful news about Yarrow, it is important to put on record our congratulations to the management, work force and design team there on having produced a contract that was manifestly acceptable to the Government. It is right also to pay tribute to the Secretary of State for Scotland for the part he played in achieving this vital order for the west of Scotland.

I look on this debate about Ravenscraig, sadly, as a lengthy extension of the debates we had on Gartcosh many years ago, when I forecast—at that time I voted against the Government—that, if we gave way on Gartcosh, it would be the long-term beginning and end of Ravenscraig. I regret that that has turned out to be the case.

That is why I am annoyed with the directors of British Steel for their action. We are talking of a great industry, and British Steel has a responsibility far wider than a normal public company with a board of directors responsible to its shareholders: it has a responsibility to the nation. It is British Steel, not Motherwell steel, Llanwern steel or Shotton steel. As British Steel, it has a responsibility to its work force, epitomised so wonderfully by Tommy Brennan over many years—I was delighted to see him mentioned in Her Majesty's new year's honours list.