§ 4.9 pm
§ Mr. Nicholas Brown (Newcastle upon Tyne, East)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,
the Royal Navy's order for the auxiliary oil replenishment lead vessel.The matter is urgent because an announcement is about to be made placing the order at Harland and Wolff in spite of the representations made at the weekend by Swan Hunter to the Ministry of Defence and in spite of the representations made by myself and by my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Mr. Garrett) when we met the Prime Minister last Thursday.
The decision should be delayed before such a disastrous course is embarked upon to allow Parliament the opportunity to consider the strategic issues involved. Is it Parliament's wish that privately owned warship yards—such as Swan Hunter—should compete against the massive public subsidies—£37 million last year—which have been given to Harland and Wolff? As there is enough work for both yards, why will the Government not place the order for the lead vessel at Swan Hunter and the order for the follow-on vessel at Harland and Wolff? Harland's has work until 1987 but Swan Hunter's has a shortfall. Why should the people of Tyneside have to accept a further 2,000 redundancies, which would give that area the highest level of unemployment in the country, including Northern Ireland, as the price for the Anglo-Irish agreement?
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, East (Mr. Brown) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,the Royal Navy's order for the AOR lead vessel.I have listened with great concern to what the hon. Member has said, but I must say that I do not consider the matter that he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 10. I cannot therefore submit his application to the House, but I hope that he will find other ways of raising the matter.