HC Deb 11 June 1974 vol 874 cc1387-8
5. Mr. Tebbit

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what estimates he has made of the effects on employment of the blacking by AUEW members of defence equipment under construction and maintenance for foreign Governments.

Mr. John Fraser

I am not aware that any workers are likely to lose their jobs as a result of action by the AUEW.

Mr. Tebbit

Will the hon. Gentleman take an interest in the comments made by Air Vice-Marshal Menaul, Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, who estimates that if defence orders are turned aside the loss of employment could amount to 20,000 jobs and the loss of exports could involve £2,000 million over five years? Will he also bear in mind that, as events in Ireland have recently shown, it is not always the Left wing which takes the initiative and that he might be stoking up trouble for himself if he goes along with the present trend?

Mr. Fraser

The hon. Gentleman is getting a little excited about industrial action by 20 workers. Perhaps he will convey to the gallant gentleman whose name he mentioned that it is no part of my Department's policy to solve the unemployment problem by indiscriminate sales of weapons and arms to racialists, Fascists and military dictatorships.

Mr. Skinner

Is my hon. Friend aware that I agree with the comment made by the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) that it is not always the so-called Left wing that causes blackouts or the blackings into which the Leader of the Opposition, when Prime Minister, plunged the country only a few months ago? Can my hon. Friend say how many man days were lost as a result of that blacking?

Mr. Fraser

Not without notice, but it was a very high number.

Mr. Cormack

Will the hon. Gentleman say when a contract is not a contract?

Mr. Fraser

Not without notice.