HC Deb 21 October 2002 vol 391 cc36-7

4.25 pm

Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire)

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 24, to debate a specific and important matter that requires urgent consideration, namely, ."the proposed strike by members of the Fire Brigades Union. In this brief submission, I am well aware that I am not allowed to go into the details of the subject. All I would say is that if any subject meets the three criteria listed in Standing Order No. 24 it is this one. Our emergency services are on the brink of being disrupted, and it is not just the fire service that will suffer if the fire brigade strike goes ahead. There will be repercussions for the railways, the underground and for many other parts of our national life. The matter is specific because the strike is due to take place next week, and no one could suggest for a moment that this is not a matter of grave public importance.

Mr. Speaker, you have at your discretion the opportunity to allow the House to debate this matter. Whatever one's views on the merits of the FBU's case, everyone in the House must feel that this subject should take precedence over other business before us, and that we should be able to debate it. Outside the House, people frequently say that we do not debate what is most relevant and pertinent in their lives: we are all accosted with that accusation. I submit that people who are likely to be affected by the strike will view with some incomprehension a House of Commons that does not debate it. I submit my application to you, Sir.

Mr. Speaker

I have listened carefully to what the hon. Member has said, and I have to give my decision without stating any reasons. I am afraid that I do not consider that the matter that he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 24. Therefore, I cannot submit the application to the House.

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