HC Deb 13 June 1951 vol 488 cc2313-5
Major Sir David Maxwell Fyfe

(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Labour whether he can make a further statement on the strike at the London Docks?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Alfred Robens)

I am glad to be able to inform the House that at an official meeting called by the unions today, the men decided on a full resumption of work tomorrow morning.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman two points on which I think there is considerable disquiet? First, can he tell us whether the strike which has just concluded has caused wastage of foodstuffs, especially meat. The second point is a wider one, but I think that it is again a point of concern to Members on both sides of the House. Will the right hon. Gentleman assure us that the Government will be ready before the Summer Recess to inform the House of their attitude to the Leggett Report on unofficial stoppages at the London Docks, and what action they propose to take with regard to the recommendations of the Committee?

Mr. Robens

I am not aware that any wastage of food has taken place. Meat, of course, will be in special refrigeration ships, and there will be no wastage from that angle. With regard to the Leggett Report, I can tell the House that we have already taken action on that Report, and discussions are taking place with all interested parties. I hope to be able to make some statement in due course.

Mr. Peter Thorneycroft

Can the right hon. Gentleman say, now that the strike is settled, whether he was helped or hindered in his negotiations by a statement on the tape on Monday evening that his predecessor in office, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), was giving his moral support to the unofficial strikers?

Mr. Robens

All my negotiations with all parties concerned have not been inconvenienced in any way by any statement anybody has made.

Mr. Aneurin Bevan

This is the first time that I have heard that any statement by me has appeared anywhere; nor has any statement been made by me. The hon. Gentleman did not give me notice of what he intended to say and I consider it extremely discourteous of him not to have done so. I have made no statement whatever concerning the strike.

Hon. Members


Mr. Thorneycroft

The right hon. Gentleman is quite accurate. I did not give him notice. I saw no reason why I should. I have been asked to withdraw. If the statement was inaccurate or wrong, then, of course, I would withdraw it unreservedly. But this statement did appear, and it was a most serious statement. It would seem to me most extraordinary that such a statement was not contradicted either by the Government or by the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Bevan

I say that I have not seen the statement. This is the first time I have heard about it. It is not the first time the British Press has lied about me.