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Scunthorpe Steel Strike Committee (Letter)

Volume 977: debated on Tuesday 29 January 1980

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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 consequences of a circular letter sent by the Scunthorpe Steel Strike Committee to steel workers who are reluctant to give their support to the steel strike by picketing.
I apologise, Mr. Speaker, for being unable to give you notice before 12 noon. Unfortunately, the document that is the subject of my application was not in my hands until the lunch-time period.

The letter states:
"This fight will only be won with you and every member doing their duty, by reporting to our strike centre, and being prepared to assist by doing a turn on picket duties. This fight will be over one day, and we would not want any unpleasantness after we have won, by some people being accused of not pulling their weight."
The letter contains threats which, though unspecified, are a clear attempt to intimidate.

Following the recent judgment by Lord Denning, in the Court of Appeal, steel workers by that letter are being told in a most dictatorial, undemocratic and tyrranical manner to commit acts that may be unlawful. Whether the acts are lawful or whether they are not, it is intolerable that many of my constituents should live in fear and dread of union bully boys who have been unsuccessful in obtaining the support of steel workers who are on strike against their will. For these tyrants to make threats implying the possible loss of ISTC union cards and, by implication, the jobs of those opposed to the strike, is an unacceptable intrusion and intimidation of many of my constituents that should be discussed in the House at the first opportunity.

The hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Brown) gave me notice as soon as he received the letter to which he has referred that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,

the consequences of a circular letter sent by the Scunthorpe Steel Strike Committee to steel workers who are reluctant to give their support to the steel strike by picketing.
I listened with great care to the hon. Gentleman's argument. I read with care the letter that he delivered to me during the lunch hour.

As the House knows, I am directed by Standing Order No. 9 to take account of the several factors set out in the order—there are many factors involved in this issue—but to give no reason for my decision.

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.