Mr Robert Mellish: As the Conservative Party are trying to say, and will say at the General Election, that if the railways had been privately owned there would not have been a loss, can my right hon. Friend make any comment upon that?
Mr Robert Mellish: Had the hon. Member listened to what the Minister was saying, he would know that my right hon. Friend was trying to argue—and I think he established his point—that steel nationalisation was an issue in those constituencies in which there were steel industries, whereas in other parts of the country—and this is perfectly true of my constituency, for example—the nationalisation of steel...
Mr Robert Mellish: On a point of Order. Is it in order for an hon. Member to jump up and ask a supplementary question without having been called by you, Mr. Speaker?
Mr Robert Mellish: I should like to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner) for raising this matter, and I think he has served a very good purpose in bringing this human problem before the House. In my constituency I have a branch of this association, and I would say to my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary, who is to reply, that if he were to come to one of the meetings of this...
Mr Robert Mellish: I intervene to say that one recognises and appreciates very much that the two hon. Members representing Southampton are defending those people who work there—the dockers at the port. It will be known that I, too, represent a dock constituency, and I would say to my right hon. Friend, with great respect, that when my hon. Friends talk in terms of London getting too much work, that is not the...
Mr Robert Mellish: With regard to timber, would the right hon. Gentleman agree that Surrey Docks are timber docks and are equipped entirely for the purpose of dealing with timber?
Mr Robert Mellish: On a point of Order. Ought the hon. Gentleman not to withdraw that statement after your remarks to him, Mr. Speaker?
Mr Robert Mellish: If my hon. Friend knows of any of these good apples which Kentish farmers are unable to sell will he send them to Bermondsey? We have none there.
Mr Robert Mellish: I cannot let this occasion pass without saying on behalf of many Metropolitan Boroughs that there is very great regret that it has been decided to sacrifice Clause 36 to meet those who have petitioned against it. I know that it is not the personal wish of my hon. Friend the Member for Kennington—
Mr Robert Mellish: I beg his pardon—the Member for Clapham (Mr. Gibson) to sacrifice the Clause. My own borough regards it as a tragedy. We believe that we were ready and equipped to do a good job of work for our people. I should have thought that the people in the laundry business as a commercial undertaking would have welcomed competition because they would have had an opportunity to prove conclusively that...
Mr Robert Mellish: Does not my right hon. Friend agree that if the members of this union are dissatisfied with the action taken by their own organisation, they have the full machinery within their organisation to deal with it, and that it is not necessary for action of this kind to be outside the realm of the union itself?
Mr Robert Mellish: What about hospitals?
Mr Robert Mellish: Who is the controlling body?
Mr Robert Mellish: Can my right hon. Friend make some comment in regard to the newspaper report about the lightermen? Was the paper asked to correct the report? Is he aware that these sorts of reports are causing a great deal of harm? Can my right hon. Friend make some comment about it?
Mr Robert Mellish: Can the Minister arrange with the farmers in Kent who are suffering great hardship to let the people of Bermondsey know, and we will come down and pick the plums ourselves?
Mr Robert Mellish: Does the hon. Member suggest that there should be compulsory powers to deal with the dentists, to direct them into the right places at the right time?
Mr Robert Mellish: Is it in order to place on record the fact that for 20 minutes we have heard this diatribe, wasting the time of the House? The country should know it is the intention of the Opposition simply to filibuster.
Mr Robert Mellish: I apologise to my party for detaining them on this subject, but I would not like it to go out that we are not the slightest bit interested in the tax on beer. In my view, if the price was reduced by 2d. or 4d. we should not return to the old days when a man went to a pub at 5.30 and stayed until 10.30. The standards of our people in these days have improved considerably. I am told, for...
Mr Robert Mellish: Television is surely on when the public houses are open. One of the great problems these days is the publican. He is in great difficulty, while the brewers are still making colossal profits.
Mr Robert Mellish: One has only to read the papers to find that out. Publicans are in serious trouble because of the decline in trade. It ought to be noted that the brewers, in the main, are not helping the publicans who are their tenants. In my constituency, they are still charging the same rents as in the days of the war. It should also be brought out that what the brewers are doing today is to get rid of...