§ Mr. Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)
On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I ask for your help in protecting the rights and responsibilities of hon. Members. As you know, the miners who were made redundant in pits last week have been declared voluntarily redundant, and that means that they do not have mortgage protection insurance which they would have if they were made compulsorily redundant.
On behalf of myself and other Members of Parliament representing pits that were closed, I sought to take up this matter with the chairman of British Coal. He declined to meet us. One of his senior executives said, in a personal capacity, that the reason for that spiteful and vindictive move by British Coal, threatening the homes as well as the jobs of those miners, was "political"—his word. That means that the only way in which hon. Members can pursue the matter is through the House.
Would it not be right for the President of the Board of Trade to explain to the House why the Government made that vindictive move—exactly the sort of short-term move that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer has been talking about—bringing huge discredit on the Government and great fear and insecurity to men who, through no fault of their own, are losing their jobs and are now threatened with losing their homes as well?
§ Madam Speaker
The hon. Gentleman has already raised this matter with me through points of order on two previous occasions this week. As he knows, the matter is not in my hands. I have not been informed that any Minister wishes to make a statement to the House.