§ Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)
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 need for urgent action by Her Majesty's Government on South Africa, following the imposition of extended emergency regulations and the latest development in the case of the Sharpeville Six.The matter is specific, in that my application refers to the latest extended emergency powers taken by the apartheid regime. These extend all the regulations relating to detention without trial, restrictions on press reporting and making illegal and punishable all calls for boycotts.
In addition to the 17 organisations which remain banned, including the African National Congress and the United Democratic Front, another organisation—the Committee for the Defence of Democracy—has also been banned.
My application is important because of the need for the British Government to pass from simply criticism of such action to taking effective economic measures such as sanctions against the apartheid police state. It is also urgent that the House should debate these matters because of the refusal of the judge in the Supreme Court in South Africa to allow the Sharpeville Six a new trial.
The lives of five men and one woman who have been convicted and sentenced to death must be saved. There have been protests from Governments, from Parliament and the rest, and the refusal to allow new proceedings means that, once again, the lives of the six are in great danger, and it is necessary for the British Government, the United States Government and other western European Governments to make sure that there is the maximum protest.
Over the weekend, millions of people saw the wonderful concert put on at Wembley in honour of Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday. Nelson Mandela has devoted his entire life to fighting the evil that I have been describing. He is undoubtedly the most outstanding South African of his generation. The way in which people all over the world saw that wonderful concert on television showed only too well the feelings of people that Nelson Mandela must be freed.
Given all those circumstances, and bearing in mind what has happened on South Africa in the past few days and the question of the Sharpeville Six, I beg you, Mr. Speaker, to recognise the urgency of the matter and to allow a debate so that the House can debate fully these issues as quickly and as openly as possible.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) seeks 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 need for urgent action by Her Majesty's Government on South Africa following the imposition of extended emergency regulations and the latest developments in the case of the Sharpeville Six.I have listened with concern to what the hon. Member has said. As he knows, my sole duty in considering an application under Standing Order No. 20 is to decide whether it should be given precedence over the Orders of 37 the Day set down for today or for tomorrow and whether it meets the criteria. I regret that I cannot find that the matter which the hon. Gentleman has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20. I therefore cannot submit his application to the House.