Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1967 Dec 5 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

HC Committee [Coal Industry Bill]

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: House of Commons Committee
Venue: House of Commons
Source: Hansard HC [755/1205-07]
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: 1855-1901. MT spoke at c1205.
Importance ranking: Trivial
Word count: 1045
Themes: -
[column 1205]

COAL INDUSTRY BILL

Considered in Committee.

[Sir Eric Fletcher in the Chair]

Clause 1.

(Borrowing powers of the National Coal Board.)

The Chairman

The first Amendment selected is No. 1—

Mrs. Margaret Thatcher (Finchley)

On a point of order. As we are clearly three hours later than we expected to be in starting the Bill, which is an extremely important Measure, involving about £330 million, I wonder whether you would give me leave, Sir Eric, to move a Motion to report progress purely to elicit from the Minister how far he expects us to get in these very new circumstances.

The Minister of Power (Mr. Richard Marsh)

Further to that point of order. I hope that we will be able to complete the Bill this evening—[Hon. Members: “Oh.” ] It is, as the hon. Lady the Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) said, a very important Measure, involving a great deal of money and, under the National Coal Board, the management of an important industry at a crucial period. It is, therefore, important that the Bill should be through before Christmas.

Even more important, it already involves, in its social provisions, payments to about 2,500 men. It would be a great tragedy if this Committee were unable—it applies to either side: I make no point of it—in an issue involving human considerations of this magnitude, to see the Bill through to the end, even if it means tomorrow, mid-day.

Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)

I do not think that the Minister's argument is in any way relevant. He refers to pressing human and social considerations, but these can be dealt with tomorrow—

Sir Gerald Nabarro (Worcestershire, South)

When we are fresh.

Mr. Peyton

The complaint, justifiably, of my hon. Friend the Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) is that the House [column 1206]of Commons is once again being treated by this Administration with nothing short of insolence. I have a good deal of sympathy—

The Chairman

Order. I am afraid that we cannot have an irregular debate on points of order—

Mr. Peyton

rose——

The Chairman

Order. We cannot have an irregular debate on points of order. Questions have been raised and answered under the guise of points of order for the benefit of the Committee to ascertain something with regard to the intentions about the proceedings of the Committee stage, but we cannot debate that matter in the guise of point of order.

Mr. Peyton

The point is this, Sir Eric, if I may put it this way. My hon. Friend the Member for Finchley asked whether, under these circumstances, you would allow her to move a Motion to report progress, and she then briefly gave the reasons. The Minister gave an irrelevant answer. This is the point.

The Chairman

I was hoping that that would have concluded the matter—

Mr. Peyton

rose——

Sir G. Nabarro

rose——

The Chairman

Order. Unless there is a Motion before the Committee we cannot debate this on points of order—

Mr. Peyton

With respect, Sir Eric——

The Chairman

Order. If it would be for the convenience of the Committee to have a short debate on a Motion to report progress—

Hon. Members

Yes.

Hon. Members

No.

Sir G. Nabarro

Where is the Leader of the House? “Kipping” again.

The Chairman

—that matter is something which, I suggest, the Committee might well consider at a later stage, but it is most irregular to have a Motion to report progress in order to ascertain the Government's intentions at the outset of the Committee stage proceedings. The normal course is to allow the Committee stage to proceed for a time and then [column 1207]perhaps, to ascertain what are the Government's intentions with regard to proceedings. We really cannot pursue this on points of order and it would not be in accordance with any precedent for me to accept a Motion to report progress at this stage.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am on an entirely different point of order. It will be within your recollection, Sir Eric, that, on 19th July, the House sat through until 8.12 a.m. the following morning debating the affairs of the coal industry, due not to any filibustering on this side of the House or on the other side, but simply due to the mismanagement created by the Leader of the House in putting that Order——

The Chairman

Order. The hon. Gentleman is obviously not speaking to any point of order. We had better get on. I think.

Sir G. Nabarro

May I complete the matter, Sir Eric——

The Chairman

Order. It is obvious from the hon. Gentleman's remarks that he is not on a point of order. We had better get on. Mr. Peyton.

Sir G. Nabarro

On a point of order. I warned you, Sir Eric——

Hon. Members

Order.

Sir G. Nabarro

I advised you, Sir Eric, that I was on a different point of order and the words which I uttered were merely a preamble. What I want to ask in one short sentence, is this: having regard to the notorious habits of the right hon. Gentleman, may we not have the Leader of the House here to rearrange business?

The Chairman

The hon. Member knows perfectly well that that is not a point of order. Mr. Peyton.