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Prime Minister (Engagements)

Volume 934: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1977

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Q3.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 28th June.

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend is today the guest of Her Majesty the Queen at the Silver Jubilee Review of the Fleet at Spithead.

Will my right hon. Friend tell the Prime Minister that this is the second time within a fortnight that he has escaped answering my questions? When the Prime Minister gets back from Spithead, will he make a clear statement about the 10-point proposal for a renewed deal with the Liberals, because in industrial relations, for example, the Liberal proposals would, in effect, mean taking more power from the trade union movement and handing it over to undemocratic Right-wing organisations, such as the National Association for Freedom, which are more concerned with protecting the freedom of people such as the tyrant employer Ward of Grunwick?

Whatever criticisms may be made of the Liberals and their policy on industrial matters, I am sure that they have no desire, wish or intention to hand over these matters to the so-called National Association for Freedom. I certainly acquit them of any desire there.

I am interested in my hon. Friend's additional reason why my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister might have arranged to go to Spithead today, and I shall discuss it with him when he returns.

Unlike the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan), I am delighted that the Prime Minister is in my constituency, as I was this morning and will be again this evening I should like to put to the Lord Preside at a point which the Royal Navy will be too courteous to put to the Prime Minister— namely, that the last Services pay review was shabby and would not have been tolerated for one moment by the right hon. Gentleman's more militant allies.

I certainly do not accept that the last Services pay agreement was shabby. I do not believe that it would be accepted by the overwhelming majority of people in the Services, whatever complaints they may have, who are also willing to join the rest of the workers in this country in trying to sustain a decent policy.

I appreciate that the Prime Minister is very busy today, but will the Lord President ask him to spare time to reflect on the political situation in Scotland and particularly on the position of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), who has languished on the Back Benches long enough? Will he use his power of patronage to give him a job where his talents can be used in some better way, so that in a by-election in Kilmarnock we can test the temperature of politics in Scotland?

I do not accept any reflections on my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) from any part of the House, least of all from the hon. Member for Banff (Mr. Watt). My right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock has given great service to this House and greater service to Scotland than the hon. Member for Banff and his party will ever know.