HC Deb 22 June 1972 vol 839 cc730-1
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 specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, The imminent French nuclear tests in the Pacific. I submit that these tests are undoubtedly specific and that they are undoubtedly important to this country and to our dependencies in the Pacific. The Pitcairn Islands, for which we have full responsibility, are the nearest inhabited islands to the test site, and I understand that the islanders have been compelled to prepare a form of evacuation to put into effect at short notice, being only some 500 miles from where the tests are to be conducted.

Additionally, I submit that the matter is urgent in so far as the French Government announced yesterday that the Cabinet in Paris had decided to go ahead with a whole new series of nuclear tests at the site, despite objections not only from Commonwealth nations but from many other nations in the Pacific and throughout the world.

I submit that it is in the urgent public interest that Parliament should discuss this matter, and that certainly it is in the interests of our Commonwealth partners in the Pacific that Parliament's views should be conveyed to the French Government in the hope that they will abandon this dangerous attempt to keep up with the Jones's in the nuclear fission race.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) was also courteous enough to give me notice of his intention to make the application. I repeat what I have just said—that my decision reflects in no way upon the seriousness of the matter Mine is purely a procedural decision, and in this case even more than in the last I would like to be able to give my reasons, but I am not allowed to do so by the Standing Order.

I am afraid that I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's application.