HC Deb 04 July 1967 vol 749 cc1535-7
6. Mr. Eadie

asked the Minister of Power what arrangements he makes to meet miners' trade union representatives when he officially visits collieries.

The Minister of Power (Mr. Richard Marsh)

I always meet local union representatives when visiting pits.

Mr. Eadie

Is the Minister aware that on his last visit to Scotland some miners' leaders were not impressed by the offhand way in which he treated them?

Mr. Marsh

My hon. Friend has developed rather a habit of asking offensive supplementaries at Question Time. I can only say that on every visit to any pit that I have made, and on any visit to any pit which has been made by any Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power, deliberate arrangements have been made to meet local miners' leaders. Whatever the third-hand gossip my hon. Friend may be passing on, this has not been represented to me.

Mr. Eadie

On a point of order—

Mr. Shinwell rose

Mr. Edward M. Taylor rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. Mr. Taylor.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Can the Minister make time available to discuss with Scottish mining trade unionists their offer to run a coal mine at Lochshirmoch, which the Coal Board intends to close down?

Mr. Marsh

I do not know about that offer, but I shall be willing to meet the S.T.U.C. or any other group of union officials at any time.

Mr. Shinwell

When my right hon. Friend meets some of the miners' leaders on the occasions when he visits collieries—and no doubt he does meet them—does he take note of the comments of the miners' leaders and of miners generally about Government policy—the number of closures taking place and redundancies? Is he aware that the mining community is almost in revolt against the Government?

Mr. Marsh

My right hon. Friend raises a very real point. I make every effort to meet union members and officials at every opportunity—and the opportunities are fairly frequent in this job—precisely to keep in touch with the problems which they have, which I know are very real ones. I agree that there is a great deal of worry about the position. We do what we can to meet this worry.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Will my right hon. Friend take into account the fact that many miners' branch leaders treat the present problem with some emotion in trying to safeguard the future of their men, and if on occasions they feel a little dogmatic, will my right hon. Friend take that into account when answering their questions?

Mr. Marsh

I have met many miners' leaders and have dealt with them very closely at local and national levels, and I have received nothing but courtesy from them. I am in no doubt about the worries they have, and I have nothing but admiration for the constructive way in which they have met the problem.

Mr. Eadie

On a point of order. Further to the statement made by the Minister of Power on the question of my continual offensive remarks in supplementaries, would he care to tell the House about these remarks and, secondly—

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is a point of argument, not a point of order.