HC Deb 13 November 1947 vol 444 cc548-9
51. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has yet been asked to intervene in the strikes at the Savoy and other hotels, at a time when the earning of foreign exchange is so vital.

Mr. Isaacs

My Department has been in close contact with the parties since the dispute started in March last. A joint meeting under the auspices of my Department was held on Thursday, 30th October, and resulted in the parties being enabled to meet together privately over the weekend. On Monday, 3rd November, in view of the situation which then existed, I informed the parties that, if a mutually satisfactory settlement could not be reached, I should have to consider the appointment of a court of inquiry under the Industrial Courts Act, 1919. On Tuesday, 4th November, I announced the appointment of the court and informed both parties. The court was constituted on Wednesday, 5th November, and on Thursday, 6th November, the date of the first meeting was fixed for the following Monday, 10th November. On Thursday, 6th November, also, I was informed by the Savoy Hotel that while appreciating that the findings of the court of inquiry were not binding in law, they, for their part, would be prepared to accept the findings of the court as soon as they were announced. The union were informed immediately. The court is still sitting.

Mr. Shepherd

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what steps he intends to take to stop the mischievous activities of his hon. Friend the Member for Upton (Mr. A. Lewis), who appears to be—

Mr. Speaker

That is not in Order. If the hon. Member wants to criticise the conduct of a Member of Parliament he must put it down on the Order Paper.

Sir T. Moore

Will the court of inquiry consider the actions of Members of Parliament in regard to this strike?

Mr. Isaacs

The court of inquiry has been appointed for a specific purpose, and it would be most unwise if we attempted to direct their attention to anything other than the material facts of the issue in dispute which they have been ordered to examine.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

A court of inquiry is sitting in respect of this matter, and it is, therefore, sub judice, so we had better not continue on this subject.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Would it be in Order if I asked the Minister whether the findings of this court of inquiry will be made known to the House if they reach a decision?

Mr. Isaacs

Yes, Sir. I am required by Act of Parliament to report to Parliament. This court of inquiry is sitting to ascertain the facts, which will be made known to the House.