HC Deb 26 June 1969 vol 785 cc1707-9
Q7. Mr. Ogden

asked the Prime Minister what consultations he has had with the leaders of the Confederation of British Industry regarding co-operation in proposals to improve industrial relations.

Q14. Mr. Boston

asked the Prime Minister what further consultations he has had about securing co-operation on proposals for improving industrial relations.

The Prime Minister

There has been very full consultation with the C.B.I. about the Government's proposals. My right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State had meetings with their representatives on 6th March, 21st April, 13th May and 13th June. Together with my right hon. Friend, I had a meeting with them on 19th June. As I said in the House on 19th June, consultations on future legislation on industrial relations will continue with the T.U.C., the C.B.I. and the other organisations concerned.—[Vol. 785, c. 700–14.]

Mr. Ogden

Is my right hon. Friend aware that those of us on this side, especially those who fully supported the original proposals of the White Paper, have been angered, disappointed, almost dismayed, by the almost complete lack of any constructive suggestions from the C.B.I., and that those who supported the original White Paper are now entitled to ask that equal pressure should be put on the leaders of the C.B.I. to do their share, as the T.U.C. has done its share?

The Prime Minister

It is right to say that my right hon. Friend and I suggested that, since the T.U.C. had taken on, with great courage and a very big movement forward, compared with anything ever contemplated before, the responsibility of dealing, through the constituent unions, with unofficial strikes as well as with inter-union disputes, it was a pity that the C.B.I. could not itself feel able to go into these matters and exercise such degree of discipline over feudally-minded employers as the T.U.C. was going to do over unions which failed to deal with their members. The House, too, will have felt, I think, that the comments of the C.B.I. after this meeting might have risen a little above the level of a suburban rugby club dinner.

Mr. Boston

Would my right hon. Friend accept that, in his attitude on this, the Leader of the Opposition has exposed his weaknesses on this, as on other matters—in, for example, making his regrettable speech on racial matters earlier in the year, only after the Commonwealth Prime Ministers were safely out of the country, and making his anti-British remarks—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Supplementary questions must arise out of the Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Boston

Of course I accept your Ruling, Mr. Speaker; I was trying to relate my supplementary question to the Question.

—in making his anti-British remarks in the United States, and, now, in his resentment that the Government have achieved far more on industrial relations than ever he was able to do when he had the power to act?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, but, with respect to my hon. Friend, I cannot really see what the Leader of the Opposition has to do with Question Q14, since nothing that he either did when he had the power to do it or said since has any relation to proposals for improving industrial relations, nor has it anything to do with Question Q7, because the C.B.I. consider his proposals to be unworkable.