HC Deb 30 April 1975 vol 891 cc476-7

3.48 p.m.

Mr. Michael McGuire

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 closure of the Empress cotton spinning mill in Ince I submit that the imminence of the closure is specific. It is important because, as the last cotton spinning mill in my constituency and in the Wigan area, its closure would mean that the workers' skills would be lost, as there is nowhere else for them to go, and they will be thrown on the scrap heap of mounting unemployment in an area which already has unemployment well above the national average. The loss to the area generally will be most damaging.

It is urgent because only an announcement that at long last the Government will take immediate action on textile imports can save this mill and prevent its closure. At the end of this week, the statutory notices to workers will be issued unless such an announcement is made. Nothing could be more urgent than this. For all these reasons, I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House.

Mr. Speaker

I am obliged to the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. McGuire) for his courtesy in having let me know yesterday of his intention to raise this matter today. I have listened carefully to what he has said. He has also written to me on the matter.

I accept at once the importance and urgency of the case as he has put it, and it is not for me to pronounce on the facts. I have to make a procedural decision as to whether or not I think it proper to disrupt business already arranged in a very full programme to permit a debate on this matter.

I am directed by the Standing Order not to give the reasons for my decision.

In spite of that, I have from time to time referred to general considerations which I have to take into account. If I were to accept this application, however well-founded it may be, where would I ever draw the line? Nevertheless, for many obvious reasons, I take this matter very seriously. If the hon. Gentleman will consult me privately, that might be helpful; I might be able to suggest ways in which the matter could be further ventilated in the House.

So I am afraid the answer to this particular application must be "No".