HC Deb 26 June 1958 vol 590 cc583-4
15. Mr. N. Pannell

asked the President of the Board of Trade the estimated loss of exports as a result of the recent unofficial London dock strike.

Sir D. Eccles

No estimate can usefully be made. The strike in a large part of the London docks has resulted in a considerable delay to shipments which will be reflected in the trade figures for June. It can be expected that, as after previous stoppages, this delay will largely be made up in subsequent months. But the dislocation and inconvenience to our overseas customers must nevertheless be a matter of concern.

Mr. Pannell

Would my right hon. Friend agree that by any computation the loss must have been very serious, and does not he consider that this great damage to the country's economy, stemming as it did from an irresponsible, unofficial strike, should have been prevented by Government action, if necessary by the use of troops? Also, may I ask him whether he consulted with his Cabinet colleagues with a view to action of that kind?

Sir D. Eccles

I am concerned only with the loss of trade. It is quite true that the figures for June will, as far as I can tell at this period in the month, show a very considerable drop. The other part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question is not for me.