§ Mrs. Dunwoody
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 announcement by International Computers Ltd of the impending closure of its factory at Winsford, Cheshire, with the consequent loss of 1,500 jobs.The matter is specific, because ICL—a company jointly owned by the Government, English Electric, General Electric and Vickers—has announced the closure just when it has been awarded a major contract to provide a giant computer for the Inland Revenue which I believe would have more than safeguarded the future of the Winsford factory.
The matter is important, because Wins-ford, since it was made a special development area, has bent over backwards to provide the conditions in which ICL could operate by building 1,500 houses, of which only half were occupied, and sterilising a major factory site for the use of that particular firm.
The matter is urgent because the loss of 1,500 jobs in an area where unemployment is already at 11 per cent. and the only other large employer, Metal Box, is due to close at Christmas with the loss of 500 jobs, many of them directly affecting my, constituents, would push unemployment up to 15 per cent. by the spring.
This is a death blow to Winsford. I have just learnt that the men's bitterness is such that they have today occupied the factory, and I submit that the House has a special responsibility to air their grievances as urgently as possible.
§ Sir Nicholas Bonsor
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As Winsford is in the heart of my constituency, and as I have taken steps today to raise this urgent and important matter with the Secretary 33 of State for Industry and the owners of ICL, I submit that an application under Standing Order No. 9 is not a suitable method of dealing with the matter.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Crewe (Mrs. Dunwoody) gave me notice this morning before 12 o'clock that she would seek to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that she thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the announcement by International Computers Ltd of the impending closure of its factory at Winsford, Cheshire, with the consequent loss of 1,500 jobs.The hon. Lady will know that the House has instructed me to take into account the several factors set out in the order but to give no reasons for my decision.
I listened with deep concern to the facts that the hon. Lady outlined to the House, and I know that the House will consider them to be serious, but I have to rule that her submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit her application to the House.