HC Deb 24 January 1974 vol 867 cc1886-7
Q1. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Willesden.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

I have at present no plans to do so, Sir.

Mr. Pavitt

Is the Prime Minister aware that, although there is disappointment in Neasden that he was unable to accede to my previous request that he should pay an official visit—disappointment was shared by Private Eye—there are two cogent reasons why he should visit Willesden? The first is that he would be able to go to Willesden Junction to take tea with several hundred train drivers who are members of ASLEF and who might enlighten him about their problems and enable him at the same time to intervene as effectively as he did with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services in the dispute involving the General Nursing Council. Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman would be able to visit Nightingale Road, where 12 houses are falling down because of the vibration from juggernaut lorries going to and from the nearby freightliner depot. In that connection, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will support the excellent efforts being made to help my constituents by his hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment who is concerned with transport matters.

The Prime Minister

I am aware of both the problems to which the hon. Gentleman has referred. I understand that he is himself dealing with the latter one with my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and his colleagues. As for the hon. Gentleman's first point about the railways, as a meeting is taking place at the moment perhaps we had better leave that matter to the meeting.

Mr. Dykes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that if, instead of stopping in Willesden, he were able to pass through it, he would be close to the London borough of Harrow, and that if he were to visit Harrow he would be much more enlightened about the public's attitude to ASLEF than he would in Willesden since he would be able to get further evidence of the way the public feel about the ASLEF drivers and their cynical misuse and abuse of their powers vis-à-vis the public and about the unbearable inconvenience that their dispute is causing the public?

The Prime Minister

The public have made their views about this clear. It is an inter-union dispute, and as the unions are coming together and are to meet the management I hope that this move will lead to a solution of the problem—a problem which is not connected with stage 3.

Incidentally, I thank the hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt) for his kind remarks about the meeting I had which enabled a solution to be reached on the nursing problem to which he referred. He will be glad to hear that 340,000 nurses have now made their settlement under stage 3.

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