HC Deb 16 February 1982 vol 18 cc146-8 3.38 pm
Mr. Charles R. Morris (Manchester, Openshaw)

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 scale of police operations undertaken by the Greater Manchester police today outside the premises of Lawrence Scott Electro Motors Limited at Openshaw, Manchester. I apologise to the House for imposing a further application on it, but that this matter is urgent and specific is evidenced by the fact that 200 to 300 policemen of the Greater Manchester police force are at this moment surrounding the premises of the Lawrence Scott company in support of a decision by the management of that company to strip the factory of machinery and engineering products. It is urgent because today's events, which will probably continue over the next few days, are the culmination of an industrial dispute which has lasted 10 months.

It is urgent because my constituents, who live in houses which stand cheek by jowl with the factory, during the course of the dispute have been awakened from their beds by sledgehammer-wielding teams of bailiffs taking repossession of the factory. The householders' children have been subject to anxiety as a result of the hazardous helicopter operations initiated by the management. As ratepayers, they will now be obliged to pay for the massive police presence in support of the commercial activities of the managing director of the Mining Supplies Company which precipitated the dispute when it took over the Lawrence Scott company in October 1980.

That this matter is important is clear from the fact that 650 of my constituents, many of whom have invested a lifetime's skill in the Lawrence Scott company, have now lost their jobs. Some may never work again. They live in an area in which few if any other jobs are to be had. I believe that in justice my constituents are entitled to expect the House to find time to consider this important matter.

Mr. Speaker

The right hon. Member for Manchester, Openshaw (Mr. Morris) gave me notice that he would seek to move the Adjournment of the House to discuss the scale of police operations undertaken by the Greater Manchester police today outside the premises of Lawrence Scott Electro Motors Limited at Openshaw, Manchester. The House knows that an application under Standing Order No. 9 is not the only procedure under which this important matter can be discussed. The right hon. Gentleman will know that my powers are strictly limited to whether we have a three-hour debate tonight or tomorrow night on the important issue that he has raised.

I have to take into account the several factors set out in the order but to give no reasons for my decision. I must rule that the right hon. Gentleman's submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.


Viscount Cranborne (Dorset, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have had today three applications under Standing Order No. 9. It is a device that is being used increasingly in the House. Will you rule, Mr. Speaker, on whether the Standing Order is being abused?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Cranborne) entered the House at the last election. It has been my honour and privilege to serve in 11 Parliaments. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear".] There are times when my Welsh modesty comes to the fore! In every Parliament in which I have served the issue of emergency debates has been raised. It is in the hands of the House to change the rule if it so wishes. I understand that it decided not to do so when the issue was raised some time ago.

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