Mr Roger Knapman: I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make my maiden speech during this important debate. In the course of a few minutes how does one pay tribute to my predecessor who sat for Stroud for a total of 32 years, given that I have known him for only 18 months? Sir Anthony Kershaw was one of that band of honourable and gallant Members. He had a distinguished...
Mr Roger Knapman: rose—
Mr Roger Knapman: Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the remarks of the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore), who referred to homelessness? Would it not help the plight of the homeless if certain Labour councils with 10 per cent. of their council houses empty got round to letting those houses?
Mr Roger Knapman: Why is there such a large trading deficit with EEC countries and a trading surplus with the rest of the world? Is there any particular figure at which my right hon. Friend would start to be worried about the trading pattern with EEC countries? If not £11 billion, would it be £15 billion, £20 billion or £30 billion?
Mr Roger Knapman: I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Minister on introducing the Bill. It is a welcome initiative. I had nearly thought to say that it was a modest initiative, but I appreciate, after some 30 weeks in this place, that the word "modest" must be used with particular care. I wish to restrict my contribution to clause 2, on the woodlands, and ask my right hon. Friend the Minister to comment...
Mr Roger Knapman: Like the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) I am also concerned for disfranchised groups, but the clause is one of the jewels in the crown of this excellent Bill—but does it go far enough? There are still some underprivileged and potentially persecuted groups—disfranchised groups—which are urgently in need of the protection provided by the clause. One such group, admittedly...
Mr Roger Knapman: No. The hon. Gentleman has been begging me for months to make a contribution in the debate, and I am doing my best to intercede with the Minister on his behalf. The hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) shares that distinction with NUPE.
Mr Roger Knapman: No. The hon. Lady has also asked me many times——
Mr Roger Knapman: Very well.
Mr Roger Knapman: I understand from the hon. Lady that the relationship between hon. Members and their unions is very slight, but I suggest that Conservative Members understand why they say what they say.
Mr Roger Knapman: As the richness of an area lies in the energy of its people, I am truly a lucky man to represent Stroud. Within the towns and valleys of that part of Gloucestershire there is a great diversity of interests and enterprises that readily adapt to ever-changing markets. When my hon. Friend the Minister has finished reading the Glasgow Herald, he may care to look at the business section of The...
Mr Roger Knapman: I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Moss) on initiating the debate and on his splendid contribution to it. I endorse and, possibly, reinforce his call for housing association activities to be extended to rural areas. I take on board his points about the green belt. The green belt is fine enough, but it tends to put extra pressure on areas just outside...
Mr Roger Knapman: Does my right hon. Friend agree that vast sums of public money have been given to the Rover car company and that further sums of money should not be given to that company to fund excessive pay demands?
Mr Roger Knapman: Is the Minister satisfied that the Government are doing enough to control extortionate credit demands?
Mr Roger Knapman: Would my right hon. Friend agree that we are far more likely to have influence over the South African Government because we do business with that country than we would have if we had introduced sanctions?
Mr Roger Knapman: I, too, am obliged to my hon. Friend the Member for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin) for giving me the opportunity to contribute briefly to the debate. I agree with what he says. I appreciate that the White Paper is a consultation document but the research and development part of the industry hardly rates a mention, despite, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, the fact that it employs over...
Mr Roger Knapman: I was interested in the point made by the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) and particularly his suggestion that there should be a trade union for Opposition Members. If the proposals were introduced does the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) expect that the leader of that union would be elected for life, or would he be subjected to occasional competition?
Mr Roger Knapman: To ask the Minister for the Arts to what extent the enterprise allowance scheme has affected those involved in the arts.
Mr Roger Knapman: Those figures seem most encouraging, but can my right hon. Friend tell the House what proportion of all people they represent, and what proportion of those who have benefited have become self-sufficient?
Mr Roger Knapman: I welcome my right hon. and learned Friend's statement, but will he assure the House that British companies will be given an opportunity to bid for the whole of the industry or any individual yard?