HC Deb 10 July 1973 vol 859 cc1258-60
Mr. Maclennan

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 reported massacre at the village of Wiriyamu in Mozambique and the intended visit to this country of the Portuguese Prime Minister, Dr. Caetano". The facts are specific and as reported in The Times today—that on 16th December last at the village of Wiriyamu in West Central Mozambique there was an armed attack by the Portuguese Armed Forces upon the village, following which the troops systematically and with bestial ferocity massacred 86 named Africans—men, women and children—who were alleged sympathisers of the Frelimo fighters.

That the matter is important scarcely requires demonstration. That it is urgent and that the House should debate this question flows from the fact that Her Majesty's Government have issued an invitation to the Portuguese Prime Minister, Dr. Caetano, which is to be taken up next week.

It is, in my submission, suitable for urgent debate in the light of the imminent arrival of the Portuguese Head of Government, and this House should have the opportunity of expressing the utter abhorrence of the British people of the consequences of Portuguese policies in Africa and of making it clear that the alternative for the Portuguese people is to join the civilisation of Europe and abandon these policies forthwith.

I conclude by expressing the view that this is pre-eminently a matter of Government responsibility, as they have issued the invitation, and this House will wish to have the opportunity of expressing the view that it should be withdrawn.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) gave notice of his intention to make this application under Standing Order No. 9.

My decision is simply whether I think this matter should be debated in the House today or tomorrow under Standing Order No. 9. I rule against the hon. Member's application.

Mr. Harold Wilson

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. While of course I am not questioning your ruling—and I do not question it—I give notice, following the statement that we have issued this afternoon, that my right hon. Friends and I will table a motion in the House in support of the line taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan).