I am delighted to be able to present this petition against pit closures, which has been collected by members of the Bradford, South Labour party and has reached nearly 5,000 signatures. The boxes that have just been brought into the Chamber are not connected with my petition, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
On 31 October, in the centre of Bradford, in just over two hours we collected more than 2,000 signatures from people who willingly signed the petition and enthusiastically supported it as a gesture of support for the miners. It reads:
To the honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the citizens of the United Kingdom, particularly the citizens of Bradford and the surrounding areas—
Showeth that the closure of more pits in Britain will cause terrible hardship and destroy many mining communities and tens of thousands of jobs in industry; that Britain's manufacturing strength was built upon coal; that coal reserves are available that would last for hundreds of years and are essential for our industrial renewal; and that British coal is the most suitable coal available for the generation of electricity.
Wherefore your petitioners pray that your honourable House will instruct the Government to reverse the pit closure programme at once, to stop the importation of subsidised coal from abroad, to suspend opencast operations and to adopt new policies that put people before profits and protect the environment and the quality of life that depends upon it. And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.