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Houses Of Parliament (Facilities)

Volume 888: debated on Tuesday 11 March 1975

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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 failure of the Government to resolve the strike by Government employees in the Palace of Westminster resulting in the grave and increasing threat to the continuation of the work of Parliament and the ability of Members of Parliament to do their duties."
I gave you notice, Mr. Speaker, that I intended at the earliest opportunity to do so.

I submit that this is a specific matter, and I hope that all hon. Members will agree that this is the case. There is today a direct threat to our ability to do our jobs in this House. At the moment that threat is every bit as real as Hitler's bombs which destroyed this Chamber in 1941.

This is clearly an important matter. The right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council in his statement earlier this afternoon admitted that Members' mail was being interfered with because the Post Office van was not coming into or going out of the Palace. This means that the matter must be dealt with very quickly indeed. Hon. Members are unable to deal with their constituents. They cannot receive letters from them, and they are unable to answer urgent queries if they cannot rely on getting their mail. Therefore, this matter is important in order to ensure that Members may discharge their duties.

I submit also, Mr. Speaker, that the matter is extremely urgent because the situation is deteriorating as we sit here. The Vote Office, as anyone who has been there knows, is in total chaos. Rubbish is not being collected. Even the lights are going out in many parts of the House of Commons. No doubt, the lights will soon go out altogether.

The matter is also urgent because I understand that the milk float has been refused admission into the Palace of Westminster. In addition, I understand that it is only a question of time before the plumbing in the Palace of Westminster collapses altogether.

I hope, Mr. Speaker, mat I have shown that this is a specific matter, that it is important and urgent, and I therefore hope that you will allow this application so that the siege of Westminster can be raised as quickly as possible.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for having given me notice some hours ago of his intention to raise this matter. I have listened carefully to what he said. I also listened to the exchanges which took place earlier in the House.

It is not for me to comment on the facts which the hon. Member has alleged or stated. I have simply to decide whether I think it is appropriate to debate this matter under Standing Order No. 9. I do not think so. I am afraid that the hon. Member has not convinced me. I therefore reject his application.