Mr Richard Sharples: I wonder whether the removal of legislation which has been introduced by the House over the years for the protection of women in work, and particularly for the protection of the health of women in work, would have general support. I am quite certain that it would not have support from the Trades Union Congress.
Mr Richard Sharples: It certainly does affect it.
Mr Richard Sharples: My advice is that it would and that, to comply with Clause 2 of the Bill, it would be necessary to remove the restrictions in law upon the employment of women and the conditions under which women are allowed to work. That is the advice which I have received and I believe it to be right.
Mr Richard Sharples: I think possibly it would be. It would be necessary to amend the legislation on those matters. I am replying to the hon. Member who asked me what the position was. There are jobs which one sex or the other is better qualified to carry out. We can all think of those. In some ways the Bill seems to assume that men and women are the same in every respect, which is a biological fallacy. On that...
Mr Richard Sharples: Market Advertising and Product Studies Ltd. carried out under contract part of a survey which the Home Office commissioned from the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. The total cost of the survey was £26,767. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to a Question by the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis) on...
Mr Richard Sharples: No, Sir. I should not like to draw the firm conclusions that the hon. Gentleman does from the draft, which requires a considerable amount of further evaluation. The survey, which was commissioned in 1967, consists of a large amount of information that still needs to be evaluated.
Mr Richard Sharples: Yes, Sir. Chinese heroin is a danger of which the Metropolitan Police are well aware. We are in close touch with them about this.
Mr Richard Sharples: Yes, Sir. There is no question of any change of policy.
Mr Richard Sharples: I think that I would agree with my hon. Friend.
Mr Richard Sharples: First, I should like to congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his first appearance on the Front Bench. I should not like to give the firm assurance for which the hon. Gentleman asks. It is a draft report and needs a considerable amount of further evaluation. When it is presented to Ministers, we shall be able to consider whether or not it should be published.
Mr Richard Sharples: It is for the chief officer of police concerned to take such action as he considers appropriate. I am sure that any suspected arson or fraudulent fire loss claim is carefully investigated.
Mr Richard Sharples: It is my understanding that details of certain cases have been sent to the Commissioner of Police. It is for the Commissioner of Police to decide what action shall be taken.
Mr Richard Sharples: My right hon. Friend has no authority to do so.
Mr Richard Sharples: I am sure that notice will be taken of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, but it is not always practical for Royal visitors to arrive on a Saturday or a Sunday.
Mr Richard Sharples: The hon. Gentleman will have noticed that the period during which streets are closed has been progressively reduced over recent years. One has to bear in mind the time needed for troops to be stationed along a Royal procession route. The policy of the police is to close streets for as short a time as possible.
Mr Richard Sharples: I expect a detailed circular to be issued to local authorities next month.
Mr Richard Sharples: My right hon. Friend gave a full reply to a Question asked by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) on 5th August, in which he set out the Government's policy. In so far as voluntary organisations of this kind can play a part in local authority plans, it is our view that they should play as full a part as possible.
Mr Richard Sharples: The rôle played by those who work in conjunction with local authorities can be in civil defence and in emergencies of other kinds, but this is a matter which should be co-ordinated by the local authorities.
Mr Richard Sharples: As I said in reply to an earlier supplementary question, my right hon. Friend gave a very full statement of the Government's policy on 5th August, and I have nothing to add to that.
Mr Richard Sharples: The results of a survey made earlier this month are being studied.