§ Mr. Robert Parry (Liverpool, Scotland Exchange)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the decision of the West Coast Stevedoring Company to cease operations in the port of Liverpool at the end of this month, causing further unemployment on Merseyside and the redeployment of registered dock workers and placing further financial burdens on the Merseyside Docks and Harbour Company.The matter is specific. It means that 55 ancillary workers will have to seek other jobs. Also, 275 registered dock workers will have to be relocated with other companies within the port under the Jones-Aldington agreement. It will mean deploying 186 to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. The dock company, at Government insistence, has recently given severance payments to thousands of dock workers. Only yesterday, in reply to a planted question, the Government stated clearly that there will be no further grants to the port of Liverpool after the end of this year.
The matter is important. One of the major reasons given by the company for the decision is the adverse effects caused to the company's trading by the Falklands crisis earlier this year. The Export Credits Guarantee Department, a Government agency, has started to meet claims by companies affected by the economic sanctions taken against Argentina.
The matter is urgent. If the company has made an application to the Government and that application has been considered, there is need for a debate. The company is owned by that super tax fiddler, Lord Vestey. Although his company may not need the money, we in Liverpool badly need the jobs.
I hope, Mr. Speaker, that in view of the points that I have outlined you will grant my application.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman gave me notice before 12 noon today that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussingthe decision of the West Coast Stevedoring Company to cease operations in the port of Liverpool at the end of this month, causing further unemployment on Merseyside and the redeployment of registered dock workers and placing further financial burdens on the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.The hon. Gentleman has drawn attention to a very serious matter. It is not for me to estimate the seriousness of what he has stated. He knows that I do not decide whether the House will debate the matter. I merely decide whether there should be an emergency debate.
Having listened with great care to the hon. Gentleman, and taking into account all the several factors set out in the order, I have to rule that the hon. Gentleman's submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and I cannot therefore submit his application to the House.