§ Mr. Brooke
Mr. Speaker, 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 refuse collectors' unofficial strike in South Westminster and its consequences".The consequences are contained in an illustration, more eloquent than any words of mine, of refuse piling up in Soho that was carried in at least one of today's newspapers. Also, I have ample visual evidence elsewhere in my constituency. In the debate in the House on Friday on the Indecent Displays (Control) Bill I spoke of other aspects of life in Soho. At that time I apologised for addressing the House on a narrow constituency and perhaps over-parochial front. The same may apply today, but I make no apologies. I am told that half the Members of this House live in my constituency and all of us work in it. Therefore, every Member will be vividly conscious of this strike and its consequences.
My constituency, to which the strike is confined, produces 500 tons of refuse daily. The strike does not arise out of any dispute between the city council and its employees. Negotiations on the manual workers' pay claims are still in progress at national level. There is no deadlock. A provision for rewarding refuse collectors for services performed in inclement weather is being discussed under normal procedures at a meeting this afternoon.
The strike arises because the workers have asked for a sum for extra effort to clear up after last week's unofficial strike which is in excess of what they would have been paid had they been working normally. This was refused, but a lower offer was made.
The nature of my constituency, in the heart of our capital, means that every hon. Member feels free to raise any matter relating to it, or without forewarning me, and I and my predecessors understand why that is so. By the same token, in seeking to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, I am drawing attention to this specific and important matter not only on behalf of my constituents but on 1057 behalf of the country in the heart of whose capital this mass of refuse will pile up.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member gave me notice before 12 o'clock this morning that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,the refuse collectors' unofficial strike in South Westminster and its consequences".The House knows that it is for me to decide not the importance of a subject but whether it should be given precedence tonight or tomorrow. My powers are limited to that. I regret to inform the hon. Member that his application does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and therefore I cannot submit it to the House.