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Secretary Of State For Employment

Volume 975: debated on Wednesday 5 December 1979

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. At Question Time yesterday I and some of my hon. Friends from Merseyside raised the question of the serious unemployment rate in the area. The Secretary of State for Employment made serious slurs against myself and my colleagues. He said:

"Members representing Merseyside constituencies could do a great deal to help, rather than do some of the things that they have done in recent years."
He added:
"In recent years Merseyside Members have very often added to bad industrial relations in the area."—[Official Report, 4 December 1979;Vol. 975, c. 216.]
As chairman of the Merseyside group of Labour Members, I call upon the Secretary of State to withdraw those serious allegations because we have always tried to promote good industrial relations.

I am sure that the House will have noted what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Later

Further to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it possible to ask the Minister to come to the House and make a statement on this issue and to spell out what Merseyside Members are guilty of in relation to industrial relations? My hon. Friends and I have spent our entire lives on Merseyside trying to help industrial relations. We take a dim view of Conservative Ministers, whose policies have led to industrial conflict, accusing us of inspiring disputes.

The House will have taken note of what the hon. Gentleman has said. He will understand that I can- not request the Minister to come here to make a statement.