§ Mr. RICHARD LAW
On a point of Order. I have given private notice of a question which I am anxious to put to the Minister of Labour. Am I out of order in seeking to put it now?
§ Mr. LAW
(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the stoppage in the Hull fishing industry is causing widespread, unemployment and grave distress among fishermen, merchants, and all those whose livelihood depends upon the industry, and whether he is able to take any steps to bring the dispute to an end?
I have been keeping in close touch with the developments in the dispute to which my hon. Friend refers, 1341 and I have decided to exercise my powers under Part II of the Industrial Courts Act to order a Court of Inquiry. I hope that, in these circumstances, having regard to the very serious effects which the dispute has already had on employment and on the general welfare of the industry, and which will be greatly increased by a continuance of the present deadlock, steps will immediately be taken to enable normal activity to be resumed.
§ Mr. THORNE
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any effort has been made to get the officials of the responsible unions concerned together with a view to negotiating a settlement?
As I have said, I am in close touch with the developments in the dispute and, in exercising the powers referred to in my answer, I am taking what I believe to be the best course to bring this unfortunate dispute to an end.