§ Mr. Farr
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,the partial failure of the nation's hay and cereal crops and the effects thereof.The House will not doubt that this is a matter of the greatest urgency. The ferocity of the tropical thunderstorms of the last 36 hours, coupled with the large downpours of hailstones in various areas, have almost converted some districts into disaster areas. Similarly, a matter of the greatest public concern must be that, apart from the threat to the livelihoods of all those affected, even a partial failure of this year's harvest, with the consequent necessity to increase our imports of temperate foodstuffs, would aggravate the balance of payments problem and plunge us into a severe financial crisis this autumn.
I submit, also, that this is a very definite situation, demanding the attention of the House. All over the country hay lies uncut, or, where cut, in black and rotting rows. Before the events of the past two days, large areas of cornland had been laid flat and, as can be 1585 imagined, as a result of the pounding by yesterday's hail and the inch of rain which fell in 45 minutes, the situation has become almost disastrous.
I have here a quotation headed, "Harvest in jeopardy after big storm", in a Midlands evening newspaper, which, I think, is singularly appropriate.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman will remember that he cannot make now the speech he would be able to make were his application to be granted. I only have matters of time in mind.
§ Mr. Farr
I am perfectly aware of that, Mr. Speaker. I proposed to read only this very short extract from the newspaper which is typical of many which have come to hand from different parts of the country.
The extract, under the heading "Harvest in jeopardy after big storm", says in three or four lines:Farmers are worried about the effect the torrential rain may have on the harvest. We are mainly worried that the flattened crops may grow into the ground. The harvest is in serious jeopardy …".In my submission, therefore, this is a definite matter of urgent public importance.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House pursuant to Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,the partial failure of the nation's hay and cereal crops and the effects thereof".I cannot accede to the hon. Gentleman's application. It is not within the Standing Order.