§ Mr. Leslie Spriggs (St. Helens)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific matter of public and parliamentary importance that should have urgent consideration, namely,the railway crisis, which may lead to a national railway strike and which may cause industrial strife throughout the country".The McCarthy report has vindicated the National Union of Railwaymen national executive committee's policy. Flexible rostering proposed by the British Railways Board has been accepted by 90 per cent. of NUR members. The British Railways Board plans to close a number of British Rail workshops with the loss of 5,000 jobs. The British Rail engineering works at Shildon will be closed and there will be rundowns at Horwich, Swindon and Derby locomotive works, while thousands of passenger coaches stand in sidings awaiting repairs and many of the main line express trains are running under strength from North to South and from South to North because, as one member of the board explained to me, "We cannot get them repaired." That is happening when the British Railways Board proposes to close the most essential part of British Rail Engineering Ltd's workshops.
I wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that with the present problems facing the railwaymen, the situation could escalate into a national strike. It would affect the coal mining industry and the electricity generating industry and there would be consequent damage to the British economy.
For those reasons I submit that this is an urgent, important and appropriate matter for debate, which should not be left until it is too late for parliamentary action.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for St. Helens (Mr. Spriggs) gave me notice before 12 noon today that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House to discuss a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the railway crisis, which may lead to a national railway strike and which may cause industrial strife throughout the country".Such an application was made yesterday by the right hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth). I fear that there are no different considerations today from yesterday, when I gave my ruling. Therefore, I am unable to submit the hon. Gentleman's application to the House.