§ Mrs. Bain
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 crisis facing the Scottish Daily News".The specific issue at stake is the likelihood of the total disappearance of this newspaper. Throughout the year various attempts have been made to ensure that the Scottish Daily News would continue. In April the Government gave £1.2 million to start a workers' co-operative, which has since then produced the Scottish Daily News. Despite difficulties, a circulation of 180,000 has been reached and advertising has trebled.
At the moment the crisis lies in the fact that the liquidators have moved into the 931 Scottish Daily News and have said that the edition of Saturday 8th November was the last edition. But the Scottish Daily News refuses to die, and today in the streets of Glasgow the workers were selling their own product, the Scottish Daily News emergency edition. The response given to the Scottish Daily News in Glasgow today is such that people were donating £5 for a copy. There is terrific public support in Scotland for the Scottish Daily News. The emergency situation is such that the workers are having to work in the Albion Street offices to ensure that no asset stripping occurs.
The importance, Mr. Speaker, lies in the fact that there is support from all political parties, from all quarters of the House and from the public in Scotland. A petition of 20,000 signatures was collected last week. We wish to see the continuation of democratic expression in the Press in Scotland, and the Government would, I am sure, be interested to read the leading article in the Scottish Daily News today which shows connivance between the Government and Chrysler. Another important aspect of this matter is that 531 people—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Lady is going a little far. She must convince me that I ought to give permission for a debate on this matter tomorrow or the day after, and she must not go into the merits of the case too much.
§ Mrs. Bain
Given that it is an emergency situation, Mr. Speaker, with 531 people being placed on the dole, with the virtual collapse of a newspaper which is important to the people of Scotland, it is important that the House should give a full debate to the subject in order that hon. Members from both sides of the House can put the case to the Government and the Government can then explain why they are unwilling to take immediate action to save this newspaper.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Lady was courteous enough to give me ample notice of her intention to make an application to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9, in order that the failure of the Scottish Daily News, a matter of vital interest to Scotland, could be debated.
I want to make quite clear my rôle as Speaker in relation to such applications. I am not allowed by the Standing Order to give the reasons for my decision. Sometimes I should like to do so. My decision does not relate to the importance of the matter. It is simply a question of whether or not I think it appropriate to disrupt the business of the House already arranged. In this case, today there is a long-awaited foreign affairs debate and tomorrow there is what will be a very long day's work. In these circumstances I cannot, whatever the importance of the matter, agree to disrupt the business already arranged. I am afraid that I must reject the hon. Lady's application.