§ Mr. Tom Clarke (Monklands, West)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,
the closure of the Buchanan Bottling Plant at Stepps and the consequences for the whisky industry and the Scottish economy.On Friday afternoon, 430 people in Scotland who worked in the whisky industry were given notice that they were about to lose their jobs. That came as a consequence of the Guinness takeover of Distillers Company Ltd, which includes the James Buchanan plant in my constituency, to which I referred earlier. Those of my constituents who might be made aware of the Prime Minister's reply to my question earlier will not only be profoundly disappointed at her reply but will be aware that we have a Prime Minister who does not really understand the problems of manufacturing industry in Scotland.
This morning I met men and women from that plant who had given many years of service to this industry, and they have been greatly disappointed by the decision. They know about the industry, and even in recent weeks were asked to work overtime for exports. They have been working to contribute towards orders for Venezuela and elsewhere.
Incidentally, it will come as no surprise to you, Mr. Speaker, or to the House, to learn that these men and women produce the whisky which, for many years—suitably labeled—has been sold in the Refreshment Department of the House. I, for one, have never heard any complaints about the quality of that whisky.
Like so many others, these men and women are finding themselves forced on the the scrap heap. There are a 36 number of questions that they would like me to ask and which might be raised if we were to have a full debate on the subject. We want to know the role of the Secretary of State for Scotland. Hon. Members will remember that during our debate in the Scottish Grand Committee in July, the Secretary of State encouraged his hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) to make a statement. The right hon. Gentleman rushed in to have discussions with Mr. Saunders on two top executive posts on the board of Guinness. If that intevention was important enough for those two senior posts, why is not the Secretary of State rushing in to save hundreds of jobs in my constituency and elsewhere in Scotland—[Interruption.] I am delighted that thee is so much agreement on Tory Benches.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Monklands, East (Mr. Smith) and I have witnessed a catalogue of closures in our constituencies—Martin and Black, Ladybird, Bedley Colliery, the Gartcosh plant, Cardowan colliery and now this major closure. We must have a debate because the Scottish people in our constituencies are becoming sick and tired of the decline of our manufacturing base and they think that enough is enough.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member has asked leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,the closure of the Buchanan Bottling Plant at Stepps in the Monklands, West constituency.Here again I have to tell the hon. Gentleman what I told his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Monklands, East (Mr. Smith). I listened with care to what the hon. Gentleman said, but I do not consider that the matter he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20. I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.