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Engagements

Volume 78: debated on Thursday 2 May 1985

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Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 2 May.

I have been asked to reply.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

In view of the 799 votes cast by one man in the Transport and General Workers Union elections last year, is my right hon. Friend satisfied that the current proposals are sufficient to deal with the malpractices that are so obvious to everyone?

I am sure that there will be widespread satisfaction over the fact that the Transport and General Workers Union is holding a new ballot. The indications are that even present legislation is encouraging postal ballots in the trade unions. We shall have to see what happens before coming to any further judgments about whether additional legislation is required.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 2 May.

I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

I know that the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the proposal by British Rail to single-track the railway line between Wrexham and Chester, but is he also aware that British Rail is apparently proposing, without consultation, to single-track the line from Wrexham to Shrewsbury, which runs through the right hon. Gentleman's constituency? Does he agree that there must be full consultation with local authorities and the local community before any such action is taken?

I am glad that Question Time is settling around matters of more tangible consequence. I have been happy to be identified with the hon. Gentleman in representations on that matter in the past and I shall be equally happy to be alongside him in the future.

Yes, it arises out of questions to the Prime Minister, which have been answered by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. Had you noticed, Mr. Speaker, that two questions were put to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House about his views on something that he had said or thought in the past? While deputising for the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend replies for the Prime Minister. The questions put to him by the right hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas) both concerned decisions of the Leader of the House and not of the Prime Minister. It is important that when the Leader of the House deputises for the Prime Minister he should speak for her views and not have to answer for his own.

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's help. That very point was made by the Leader of the House himself.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, arising out of questions to the Home Secretary today. Is it appropriate that even hon. Members from the Opposition Front Bench, let alone those on the Opposition Back Benches, should refer to business for next week, while asking questions of the Home Secretary, when the House has not been notified of the business for next week?

I think that that is legitimate. None of us knows when there will be a debate on this important matter. I know that it is of great interest to the House and that is why I allowed a fairly long run on it during Question Time. As yet, I have no knowledge of what will happen next week.