HL Deb 29 January 1980 vol 404 cc670-2

2.40 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend that there will continue to be a public holiday on May Day.


My Lords, there is no regular bank holiday on May Day. The first Monday in May is a bank holiday. The Government have no plans to alter it.


My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for that Answer, but is it not true that this day represents International Labour Day, which is best known and epitomised by the march through Moscow of all their armed might demonstrating their ability to destroy the world, including the Labour unions, and is it not therefore a singularly inapt celebration to hold?

The Earl of GOWRIE

My Lords, I am not quite prepared to concede to my noble friend, or to any Marxist, the monopoly of May. May is a time when we should all be able to enjoy ourselves regardless of our political complexion.

Baroness SEEAR

My Lords, would the Minister agree that it is perfectly ridiculous to have three public holidays in a period of eight weeks, most of which, if one looks at the records, are extremely wet? One then does not get another holiday for three months, or another one after that for four months. Is it not time that we brought a bit of common sense into the arrangements for public holidays?

The Earl of GOWRIE

My Lords, I will take the noble Baroness's opinions into account, but I would point out to her as a stern European, as all Members of the Liberal Party are, that almost all European countries observe a public holiday at the beginning of May.


My Lords, may I ask the Minister to be helpful to the House by burying this old blue herring of a chestnut by publishing in the Official Report a full list of the countries throughout the world which celebrate Labour Day on 1st May and, in doing so, pointing out specifically that some of the most Left-wing countries in the world, such as Argentina, Brazil and Chile, celebrate it?

The Earl of GOWRIE

My Lords, I am afraid I cannot congratulate the noble Lord on his choice of metaphors, but, as I pointed out, there is in fact not a holiday on Labour Day in this country; there is, however, a bank holiday on the first Monday in May.


My Lords, can the Minister confirm or deny the rumour that the Government had thought of transferring this holiday to Primrose Day but that none of them could remember when Primrose Day was?

The Earl of GOWRIE

I think that is a yellow herring, my Lords.


My Lords, does the Minister not think that if the questioner took this Question to Lord Denning he would achieve his objective?