HC Deb 04 March 1985 vol 74 cc655-65 3.30 pm
The Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. Peter Walker)

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement about recent developments in the coal dispute.

Yesterday, at a delegate conference of the National Union of Mineworkers, a decision was made to end the industrial action which has been conducted by some sections of the NUM over the past year. The conference decided that there should be a return to work tomorrow.

The Government regret that this unjustified dispute, which has taken place without a ballot, has done so much damage to miners, to mining communities and to the coal industry. Without this dispute, the industry would have received £800 million of capital investment during the past year, miners' pay would have been substantially above average industrial earnings, 1,000 firms would have been persuaded to convert to coal, export orders would have been obtained, and any miner in a pit facing closure would have been given the opportunity of continuing to work in the industry or of taking advantage of early retirement provisions more generous than those available in any other industry.

The dispute has inflicted heavy damage on the coal industry and on those companies which supply that industry with plant and machinery.

However, I am pleased to tell the House that during the period of this dispute industry at large was able to obtain the energy supplies that it required. There were no power cuts due to the dispute and there are still nearly 12 million tonnes of coal stocks at Britain's power stations.

I would like to express the Government's appreciation to all those people whose efforts have ensured that Britain's energy supplies have continued to be available.

I believe that the country would also like to thank the police, who, throughout this dispute, have ensured that organised mob picketing did not deprive people of their freedom to go their place of work. Sadly, during the dispute, 1,391 police officers have been injured.

It is now vital that the coal industry swiftly returns to normal working and recovers from the damage of the past 12 months.

The National Coal Board has stated that obtaining full safety in all pits is its first priority, so that production can be restored.

Both the National Coal Board and the Government hope that the coal industry will now take full advantage of the considerable opportunities available both at home and abroad.

Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, East)

After 12 months, more than 100,000 members of the NUM will tomorrow go back to work without a settlement. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the negotiation of a settlement would have been the best way—for the miners and the industry—to end the dispute? If so, why did the Government not accept the NUM's proposal that it was prepared to sign and implement the full NACODS agreement, when the Secretary of State said on 4 February: if the NUM wished to accept it, it could have a settlement today or tomorrow."—[Official Report, 4 February 1985; Vol. 72, c. 622.] Is it not a fact that until the modified colliery review procedure is in operation all pits will remain open? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that Mr. Peter McNestry, the general secretary of NACODS, has today said that no such modified review procedure can be put in place until the NUM is party to the agreement?

What is the Government's attitude on the crucial issue of victimisation, bearing in mind conflicting reports from different areas? Will the right hon. Gentleman comment on the statement by the Scottish area director, Mr. Wheeler?

The cost of the dispute has been assessed independently as being in excess of £3.5 billion. Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that figure?

Finally, the fortitude and tenacity with which men and women of the coalfields have fought to uphold and defend their communities and jobs has the admiration and support of the Opposition. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will now facilitate the means quickly to arrive at a negotiated agreement, which can be the only way forward for the industry and the country.

Mr. Walker

The right hon. Gentleman's figures are totally wrong, and he must have obtained them from Mr. Scargill. If he did so, that explains their inaccuracy. It is very much the Government's wish to have an agreement and a settlement. It is a great pity that the Opposition, with such influence as they have on the NUM, did not suggest that the union should accept the ACAS compromise proposal of October 1984. Throughout the dispute there has not been an occasion when the Opposition have officially criticised Mr. Scargill for making no move towards reaching a settlement.

There was a further basis for a settlement following the talks that took place between the Coal Board and the TUC, when a document was prepared which reflected careful consideration of the points which the TUC had put to the Coal Board. That document included totally the NACODS agreement. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the NACODS agreement and quoted from Hansard. I suggest that he refers to the quotation that was given some time ago by Mr. Scargill about that agreement. I cannot use it, because the terms in which he described it would be ruled to be unparliamentary. That prevented any agreement being arrived at last October.

The cost of the dispute is a complicated matter and one which will have to be examined carefully. It is nothing compared with the cost that would have arisen had the Government agreed to a totally unreasonable demand, with the mob being used to support it.

The right hon. Gentleman has praised the miners who have been on strike for this long period. I share with him an admiration for those who do that with a sense of loyalty to their union. I admire also those who, in the normal tradition of the NUM, decided to have a ballot and have worked throughout the strike.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. I remind the House that another statement will follow this important statement. After that, there will be a public expenditure debate, which right hon. and hon. Members have been calling for regularly during business questions. I propose, therefore, to allow questions on this statement to continue until 4 o'clock. There will be other opportunities to raise the issues that flow from it.

Mr. Michael Morris (Northampton, South)

Is it not deplorable that the right hon. Members for Salford, East (Mr. Orme) and for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) have both refused to advance the proposition that today is the right day for wounds to be healed—[Interruption.] I refer the House to "Today" this morning. I ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to remember that there are 60,000 men in industries which are dependent upon the coal industry who should be considered equally in the difficult times that lie ahead.

Mr. Walker

The dispute has been totally unjustified, as we have always claimed. What is important now is for investment to be made in the industry and used wisely so that lost markets may be regained, and for unity in the mining communities and the NUM to be restored.

Mr. David Steel (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale)

I congratulate the Secretary of State on distancing himself from the "worthwhile investment" school of thought about the events of the past year. Will he recognise that the only worthwhile investment would be for all parties to learn the lessons of this disaster? The union must learn that politically motivated strikes based upon intimidation, rather than on the ballot, will not work. The NCB must recognise that arrogant and high-handed management will not work. The Government must recognise that throwing money at individuals in the form of generous redundancy payments is no substitute for dealing with the social and economic problems of communities affected by pit closures.

Mr. Walker

Of course I agree that it is wrong for a union to involve itself in a political dispute, especially without a ballot. Pits have closed for economic reasons under all Governments, but the present NCB and the present Government have done far more than any previous Government to ensure that there is an instrument for bringing new jobs and enterprise to mining communities, and have provided early retirement provisions on a more generous scale than has ever been conceived before. In any decent tradition of dealing with an industrial problem in a civilised way, the Government and the NCB should claim full credit.

Mr. Jonathan Aitken (Thanet, South)

Now that the laws of economics are to apply to the coal industry, will my right hon. Friend try to encourage the necessary moves towards low-cost, large-scale production by, first, trying to shift the difficult but necessary decision-making process for pit closures away from the television screen and into the hands of local, decentralised NCB management and, secondly, putting some real political and financial firepower behind NCB (Enterprise) Ltd so that it can develop alternative jobs for miners?

Mr. Walker

Yes, it is important that all negotiations on the future of pits, in terms both of positive investment policy and of the need to close pits that are no longer economic, should be discussed at local and regional level on the basis of all obtainable knowledge. I also place great importance upon the activities and success of the new NCB (Enterprise) Ltd.

Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield)

After spending £5 billion of taxpayers' money and throwing the full apparatus of the state—police, magistrates, judges, the media and the Government themselves — against the miners, the right hon. Gentleman has totally failed to win the support of the majority of miners for the Cabinet's policy. Without good will, which is wholly lacking, there is no future for the coal industry.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the struggle of the miners, backed by their families, and under the leadership of the NUM, has given hope to millions of people who have poured millions of pounds into the support of the miners and their communities? Is he aware that when history comes to be written—that may be sooner than the Cabinet would wish—the struggle will be seen as a turning point in the battle against monetarism and against the attack on full employment?

Mr. Walker

Of all those with militant views who have taken part in the dispute, there is no one for whose views I have less respect than the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn). When he had responsibility for the industry, he paid the miners worse, invested less in the industry and offered redundancies on far worse terms. Compared with the record of the present Government, the right hon. Gentleman's record in those respects is appalling. His enthusiasm for the dispute has been only his enthusiasm for the Marxist views that he holds.

Mr. T. H. H. Skeet (Bedfordshire, North)

While paying tribute to my right hon. Friend for the work that he has done, may I ask him to bear in mind two matters that require immediate consideration? The first is the vital question of markets for coal, and the other is the reconstruction of the finances of the NCB. The board's debt is considerable. It is virtually bankrupt. It is in need of revival, if anything can be done.

Mr. Walker

It is true that the NCB is insolvent and depends upon finance from the Government to continue. It is important that the industry conquers new markets. Bearing in mind the quality of our coal reserves, available mining machinery, miners and management, there is no reason why the industry cannot, with competitively produced coal, conquer new markets.

Mr. Peter Hardy (Wentworth)

Does the Secretary of State agree that his rather aggressive approach to his statement led to his omitting to refer to the considerable efforts of my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme), who devoted enormous energy to trying to secure a resolution of the conflict? Had the Secretary of State put in the same effort, the country might have been saved £2 billion. Will the Secretary of State confirm that the NACODS agreement will now apply in full?

Mr. Walker

The answer to the hon. Gentleman's latter question is yes. The board informs me that it is endeavouring to have talks with NACODS in the near, future to sort out details and implement the scheme. Knowing the right hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme), I have no doubt that he tried genuinely throughout to obtain a peaceful settlement. I am only sorry that the leader of the NUM has not listened to the right hon. Gentleman as much as he should.

Mr. Peter Hordern (Horsham)

In view of the courage and tenacity of those miners who have continued to work in the face of great provocation throughout the dispute, will my right hon. Friend confirm that the investment programme of the NCB remains intact?

Mr. Walker

The NCB's investment programme will have to be reviewed to take into account the considerable damage that has been done to plant and machinery and coal faces during the dispute. Management at regional level must review carefully how available resources might be used to benefit the industry. There is no doubt that there is substantial, good and rewarding investment to be made which will enable the industry to succeed.

Mr. Roy Mason (Barnsley, Central)

Is the Secretary of State aware that, on 28 January, and again on 18 February, I asked him to grant an amnesty to all those miners who had been arrested on picket lines and had since been acquitted? There are now 1,416 of them. On both occasions the right hon. Gentleman promised a reply. Has the chairman of the NCB replied, and if so, what is the answer?

Perhaps the Secretary of State will now clear up the latest negotiating position. On 26 February he sent a letter to Peter Heathfield saying that the NUM should accept the TUC document as the firm agreement on the main issues of the dispute". Is that the Secretary of State's stance now, and the board's, or is the NACODS agreement the preferred basis for talks?

Mr. Walker

The board's views were expressed in the eight points in the programme that was put to the TUC. They concern the managerial policy pursued by the board. Among those eight points is the NACODS agreement. TheNACODS agreement will therefore be considered, as envisaged in that document. As to the right hon. Gentleman's question about an amnesty, the matter will be dealt with by the board according to individual circumstances, irrespective of whether the courts have been involved. If someone has been found guilty—[HON. MEMBERS: "These are innocent men."] If the board considers that someone has been involved in physical violence or damage to a pit, it will take appropriate action. The person concerned will have all of the protections available if the Coal Board takes any wrongful action.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)

Is my right hon. Friend aware that no group of people is more anxious for a reconciliation than that which took most of the casualties in the defence of civil liberties—the police? To assist in the process of reconciliation, will my right hon. Friend urge those who have made absurd charges against the police to drop them? Will he also make it clear that, although minor offences can properly be forgotten, the criminal law must take its course when violence is involved?

Mr. Walker

I am pleased to say that there are men working in the coalfields where the management has decided that minor offences are not sufficient to warrant sackings.

When the correct and accurate history of this dispute is written, it will be seen that the country owed a great deal to the police for the way in which they conducted their affairs in relation to communities, miners and those working in the steel industry, and in protecting freedom.

Mr. Dave Nellist (Coventry, South-East)

Is the Secretary of State aware that during the past couple of hours the Kent and Scottish branches of the NUM have refused to go back to work until the 42 members of the NUM in Kent and the 250 members of the NUM in Scotland who have been sacked have been reinstated? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that there will be no peace in the coalfields until a general amnesty is given to the 728 miners who have defended their union, their class and their community during the past 12 months?

Mr. Walker

Knowing the hon. Gentleman's passion for supporting the majority decisions of the NUM delegate conference, I am sure that he will do all that he can to persuade the Kent and Scottish branches to obey.

Dr. John G. Blackburn (Dudley, West)

Will my right hon. Friend reflect on the fact that there are two victors in this dispute: first, democracy, which is the lifeblood of our society; and, secondly, the reputation of the police service, which has been enhanced in this difficult matter? Will my right hon. Friend take the opportunity of writing today to the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers conveying the appreciation of the House to the 1,300 police officers who have been injured and wounded during the dispute?

Mr. Walker

I share my hon. Friend's respect and admiration for the actions of the police. That is why I made that a major point of my statement to the whole of the House of Commons.

Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)

Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to deal specifically with the question asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, Central (Mr. Mason) about the 1,400 men who have been acquitted?

Mr. Walker

As always with the management of any concern, the fact that a person has been acquitted of a particular offence is not a guarantee that he will continue in employment if, in the management's view, he has committed an act that is against the interests of the company. [Interruption.] If a person who has proved himself to be innocent is dismissed, he will have all the rights that he has with regard to wrongful dismissal to take action against any employer who takes that irresponsible action. As always, employers must decide whether a person is suitable to continue in employment in a particular company.

Mr. Michael Forsyth (Stirling)

Will my right hon. Friend join me in repudiating the attacks that have been made on the Scottish Coal Board representative, Mr. Albert Wheeler, whose conduct throughout this dispute has been exemplary? Will my right hon. Friend join me in advising miners in my constituency to ignore the advice that they have been given by their leadership and get back to work? In Scotland, 700 jobs have already been lost because of a loss of pit faces. It is necessary for the miners to get back to work and build the industry.

Mr. Walker

Before the NUM delegate conference on Sunday, a substantial proportion of Scottish miners had returned to work. I hope that the rest will return to work tomorrow.

Mr. Willie W. Hamilton (Fife, Central)

As the Secretary of State referred yesterday to the need for reconciliation, will he ensure, as an earnest of his endeavours, that sufficient money is available to the areas where the closure of pits is likely to be expedited because of what has happened during the past 12 months? Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to sack Ian MacGregor, to show the miners that he means business?

Mr. Walker

The answer to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's question is no. On the first part of the question — I tried to say this in an earlier reply — the board must now carefully consider where best to use the substantial financial facilities that will be available to the industry to secure its future. There will be places where damage has been done which will be a priority for restoration. I am afraid that there will be other places where damage has been done which it will be impossible to make good.

Mr. Peter Rost (Erewash)

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that in those pits where work goes back to normal, including the abandonment of the overtime ban, miners will be properly rewarded, and that the board will negotiate on a pit-by-pit basis to see that the arrears of pay come along as they should have done long ago?

Mr. Walker

Yes. It is the board's objective, and has been throughout, to see that miners' pay is at a good level. The offer that it made before the dispute started would have put miners' pay more than 25 per cent. above average industrial earnings. I am only sorry that the dispute has meant that for many miners that has been lost. Likewise, all miners should recognise that it is in their interests and in the interests of the future and recovery of their industry that normal working, including the removal of the overtime ban, starts as quickly as possible.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

Is the Secretary of State aware that the union is correct in calling for an amnesty for all those who have been sacked by the Coal Board, just as previous Governments have given an amnesty to other groups in our society, such as the Rhodesian sanction busters, who were let off the hook many years ago by a previous Tory Government, and those companies which fail to file their returns and break the law? They are given an amnesty at the end of every financial year to carry on their tax dodging and all the rest of the fiddles. If the miners' union cannot obtain an amnesty for all, resistance must continue, the overtime ban will not he called off, and we shall carry out the war of attrition which will result finally in victory.

Mr. Walker

I am glad that the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition have made it clear that they consider that employers have to take the decision. I think that they are right.

Mr. Michael Grylls (Surrey, North-West)

Will my right hon. Friend do all that he can to encourage British and overseas inward investment in the mine closure areas? Will he also consider, with his colleagues in the Government, extending the successful enterprise allowance scheme to encourage miners who take early retirement to set up their own business? Can he help in that way?

Mr. Walker

Yes. My hon. Friend has been active in trying to give incentives and encouragement to new businesses. A combination of what the Government have succeeded in doing in that sphere, together with the money, facilities, accommodation and management facilities available through the new enterprise company, will provide good opportunities in mining communities for the creation of the kind of small businesses which my hon. Friend has done so much to champion.

Mr. D. E. Thomas (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy)

Now that the Secretary of State has failed to break the NUM's unity in South Wales and other areas, will he turn away from the uneconomic burning of oil—it has cost £1.7 billion during the course of the dispute—and study the real economics of energy policy? Will his Department now institute the review of energy policy which the Welsh Church leaders called for a month ago?

Mr. Walker

No one has so completely destroyed the unity of the National Union of Mineworkers as has Mr. Arthur Scargill. That union is now divided from top to bottom, as well the hon. Gentleman knows. On the question of energy policy, the Government made it clear that their objective was to have mining as an important and expanding industry, producing coal at low cost, with high productivity and good pay for the miners. The Government continue to pursue that policy.

Mr. Mark Robinson (Newport, West)

I am sure that my right hon. Friend is aware that no one will welcome the decision to return to work more than will the steel workers of South Wales. Will he make it clear to the NUM and the railway unions that orders that have been suspended or lost because of the dispute will not return automatically to those industries? They will have to earn them. The only way to earn them is to get back to work properly and to end the overtime ban.

Mr. Walker

There is no doubt that the future of the industry depends upon a speedy return to normal working to take advantage of the investment and the new markets that are available. That is in the interests of all. With regard to the steel industry, looking back on the dispute, I think that we all admire the manner in which steelworkers and the steel industry did not just overcome the problems of mass mob picketing, but in recent months have peen reaching record production figures.

Mr. Stan Crowther (Rotherham)

Would it not be the mark of an honest man for the Secretary of State to admit that all the terrible consequences that have flowed from the dispute could have been avoided if the Government had not deliberately provoked the strike a year ago, through the National Coal Board, in the mistaken belief that miners would be brought to their knees in a matter of months? Before the right hon. Gentleman engages in too much self-righteous gloating, will he reflect on the fact that the damage that the Government have done, the anger, the bitterness and the resentment will be endemic in the industry for many years?

Mr. Walker

That sermon should be preached to the president of the National Union of Mineworkers. There is clear evidence that last March, had the terms available been put to the miners in a ballot, as they have always been put to the miners in a ballot—[Interruption.] Let me remind hon. Members that one third of Britain's coalfields stuck to the NUM's normal tradition of balloting and voted 70 per cent. against strike action.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. In view of the interest in the statement, I proposed to allow a further five minutes on it.

Mr. Cecil Franks (Barrow and Furness)

Does my right hon. Friend accept that when the coal mining industry was nationalised in 1946 it owed nothing to commercial logic but everything to the folk tales and myths of the Labour party and the Labour movement? Does my right hon. Friend also accept that the strike of 1926 took place over 60 years ago, long before many of today's miners were born, and in circumstances totally different from today's industry? Will my right hon. Friend therefore consider, together with his colleagues, the privatisation of the mining industry?

Mr. Walker

The important thing is to restore the mining industry from its present position of considerable insolvency and damage. No immediate consideration is being given to privatisation.

Mr. Allen McKay (Barnsley, West and Penistone)

Does the Secretary of State not understand how the dispute started? The closure of Cortonwood was something which no trade union leader or trade union worth his or its salt could not but take up. Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider his answer to my right hon. Friend for Barnsley, Central (Mr. Mason) about an amnesty? That single issue in one of the most peacemaking issues on which the Secretary of State could put his finger. Will he see to it that the people who are taken back do not have a break in their service, but that their service is continuous, because that is very important? Does the right hon. Gentleman further accept—

Mr. Speaker


Mr. McKay

It is important. Does the Secretary of State accept that the biggest danger to the coal industry is Ian MacGregor and that he is not the man who should take the industry through to the peace which the right hon. Gentleman wants? The names that I gave him many months ago are of the people whom he should be considering to bring the industry into the future.

Mr. Walker

With regard to the origins of the dispute, every miner at Cortonwood was circulated immediately with the fact that the NCB was willing to go through all the normal procedures, and it was the NUM which decided not to turn up for those procedures. I repeat that, on that or any other issue, if the NUM thought that it was something that miners throughout the country would support, it could have done the normal thing in the NUM and gone for a ballot.

With regard to an amnesty, I am quite certain from the manner in which the management of the Coal Board has already acted, that the people involved in minor cases, where there has not been serious physical injury to Coal Board employees or considerable damage to its property and machinery, will have their cases carefully considered. The NCB has no desire other than to employ people who are decent people to employ. That is how the NCB will operate.

Mr. Tony Favell (Stockport)

With regard to a possible amnesty for the perpetration of violence, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the vast majority of people in this country are decent and law-abiding and have been absolutely appalled at what they have seen on their television sets and read in the newspapers, and would be equally appalled if they were now to see that might was right?

Mr. Walker

I think I am correct in saying that the majority of the House takes that view as well.

Mr. Martin J. O'Neill (Clackmannan)

Does the Secretary of State agree that there is no surprise at the decision of the Scottish area not to go back to work tomorrow, in the light of the blanket refusal of the director of the NCB in Scotland to consider lifting the ban on any individual person who has received his books? Will the right hon. Gentleman please help the situation in Scotland and say to the NCB that it must reconsider its position and start reconciling itself to reality?

Mr. Walker

I can only say that when there is normal working, the conciliation procedures of the NCB allow any individual case to be looked at fully.

Mr. Allan Rogers (Rhondda)

Before the Secretary of State's money-grabbing friends start to influence him towards privatisation of the coal industry, may I point out that the reason why the coal industry was nationalised in the first place was that it was incompetently managed and, when it was taken over by the state, was completely bankrupt? That was pointed out as far back as 1919 by the Sankey commission. The only thing that has not changed in the coal industry between pre-nationalisation and now is the bad, incompetent management, especially on investment decisions.

Mr. Walker

If the hon. Gentleman considers that it is bad, incompetent management, especially on investment, under this Government, I can only say that it must have been absolutely dreadful under the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn).

Mr. Michael Marshall (Arundel)

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the best ways in which the industry can begin to repair the damage that has been done is to end the overtime ban? Does he further agree that that would help many of those who have needlessly suffered grievous financial hardship during the strike? Will my right hon. Friend ask the Coal Board to do all that it can by putting forward at least part of the money that is on offer by way of wage increase to bring that about?

Mr. Walker

We know that the Nottinghamshire miners who have been at work have decided to get rid of the overtime ban. After the considerable financial losses of the families and mining communities, and in the interests of the future of the industry, it is essential that normal working, including the removal of the overtime ban, is achieved as quickly as possible.

Mr. Frank Haynes (Ashfield)

Now that the Secretary of State has had his few gloating moments when he made his statement, will he look at the Royal Commission's report on energy, because the Prime Minister has regularly said that uneconomic pits must close? If the right hon. Gentleman looks at the report, he will see that most of the pits in Britain are uneconomic, according to the report. Therefore, what will the right hon. Gentleman do about uneconomic pit closures? Will he come clean now and tell us how many pits will close?

Mr. Walker

The Government have announced in their projections of investment policy substantial investments in the industry for the years to come. One Royal Commission has also said that for environmental reasons we should be totally nuclear. In fact, the Government have taken the view that the coal industry has an important, major future in producing coal on a competitive basis. We have been willing to put more investment into that than were the previous Labour Government.

Mr. Alexander Eadie (Midlothian)

Does the Secretary of State accept that we in Scotland are not a region, but a nation? We are a country, and we are entitled to have an organised return to work in conformity with the decision of the NUM special conference yesterday, in the same way as any other area. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the area director of the NCB is preventing that by his brutal declaration of a policy of victimisation, and that because of that the dispute in Scotland is to continue? Where is the language of conciliation there? Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire into that? We want justice and fairness in Scotland, and we are entitled to it.

Mr. Walker

As I explained, the conciliation procedures of the NCB, when normal working applies, deal with any such problems. Many of us observing the Scottish scene very much regret some of the violence that took place there.

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