§ Mr. Abse
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 which should have urgent consideration, namely,the statement of the Secretary of State regarding the British Steel Corporation.The right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann) expressed the view of the House when he indicated that this was the gravest statement on industrial matters that he had ever heard in the House.
That the matter is specific is clear from the way that the Secretary of State adumbrated the facts as he saw them and the lack of action which he indicated.
That this is a matter of urgency is realised by steel workers throughout the country when they are informed that the industry in which they are involved is in danger of being liquidated. That it is a matter of urgency that some action should be taken is clear when we know that one of our basic industries has hanging over its head the Damocles Sword of liquidation. It should be equally self-evident to the House that there should be a debate on such a matter.
That the matter is urgent, so as to relieve the anxieties of management throughout Britain, and that, indeed, it affects both the public and private sectors, has been amply demonstrated in all the questions that have come before the House.
768 Bearing in mind the widespread anxieties that will have been caused as a result of the grave nature of the statement, I beg to ask that leave be given for a debate.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member seeks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,the statement of the Secretary of State regarding the British Steel Corporation.The House will know that I do not decide whether the House discusses and debates this matter. That is not within my discretion. I do not decide anything other than the narrow question whether this matter should be debated tonight or on Monday night.
As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take into account the several factors set out in the order but to give no reasons for my decision. I listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman, but I have to rule that his submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order. Therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.
§ Mr. Ioan Evans
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the serious nature of the subject of British industry, as well as the steel industry, I wonder whether we could, through the usual channels, ask for an early debate to be provided by the Government.
§ Mr. Speaker
The usual channels are not my concern. The hon. Gentleman can bring the matter to their notice.