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,
I am conscious that this is the second successive day on which I have sought such leave concerning a matter in my constituency. I fear that what in current jargon might be called the high profile of my constituency makes it a natural target in such a sequence of events. The NUPE strike which broke out at the Westminster hospital yesterday is the origin of my application, but that in itself would not warrant such an application. However, it was made clear yesterday that the strike might be extended today to the Westminster children's hospital. Mr. Morris, of NUPE, with whom I personally have very satisfactory relations in a constituency capacity, has indicated that if the strike were extended to the children's hospital he was entirely clear about the implications. He is quoted as having said:"the extension of the NUPE strike at Westminster hospital to Westminster children's hospital."
The strike has since been extended. Today the medical staff appealed to the Prime Minister. I believe that the majority in this land would draw the line at sanctions against sick children. In a democracy, a majority deserves to be listened to. Historically we have regarded ourselves as a Christian country, and one where the quality of life compensated us all for the performance of our economy and our consequent earnings. If curing the latter sectionally takes the brutalising form of the present and other strikes, the quality of our life must suffer. That makes this strike's extension an urgent matter. I doubt whether any hon. Member present has not at some stage been moved by the verse in the Gospel of St. Matthew:"You cannot discriminate. I know that people will be angry. But where do you draw the line at sanctions?"
"But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
The hon. Member gave me notice this morning that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believed should have urgent consideration, namely,
The hon. Member raised an undoubtedly serious matter. However, he knows—as the House knows—that I do not decide whether this matter is to be debated; I merely decide whether it should be debated tonight or tomorrow. After very careful consideration I have to rule that the hon. Gentleman's submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House."the extension of the NUPE strike at Westminster hospital to the Westminster children's hospital".