Skip to main content

CONDUCT OF THE HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR DOVER AND HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE

EDM (Early Day Motion) 522A1: tabled on 28 February 1996

Tabled in the 1995-96 session.

This motion has been signed by 16 Members. It is an amendment to an existing motion.

As this motion is using historical data, we may not have the record of the original ordering, in which case signatories are listed alphabetically.

This is an amendment to an existing motion

This motion was originally tabled by Mr David Jamieson on 26 February 1996. This is amendment number 1.

View details of the original motion

Suggested amendment

leave out at from `House' and add `congratulates the honourable Member for Dover for his continued vigorous defence of Dover's ferry industry; notes the extensive support and sympathy that the honourable Member for Dover has given to those who suffered bereavements in the `Herald of Free Enterprise' disaster at religious services and other services in Dover; recognises that at the Coroner's inquest held after the Sheen Report, evidence of alcohol consumption was admitted to by a crew member who on legal advice declined to answer further questions on alcohol because of legal concerns about self-incrimination; supports the immediate ban on alcohol consumption by crew members that was imposed by ferry operators; deplores attempts by Opposition honourable Members to make capital out of a tragedy and to deflect criticism away from the trade unions; and supports the honourable Member for Dover in drawing attention to the many improvements made to ensure that British ferries are amongst the safest in the world.'.

Original motion text

That this House deplores the comments made by the honourable Member for Dover during a House of Commons debate on Ferry Safety on 21st February in which he said, 'Alcoholism caused the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' to go down. People did not do their jobs because they were drunk'; notes that his comments are in contradiction to those made to the House by the then Secretary of State for Transport on 24th July 1987 and the detailed report by Mr Justice Sheen, both of whom failed to mention alcoholism as a cause of the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' tragedy; notes that the Sheen Report made severe criticisms of the management of Townsend Car Ferries Ltd., discounting the honourable Member for Dover's theory that 'extreme left wing trade unionists' were in some way responsible for the disaster; further notes that 6th March 1996 is the ninth anniversary of the disaster, which took place in 1987 (not 1986 as the honourable Member stated); hopes he will make an unreserved and full apology to the bereaved relatives of the victims and to those who survived the disaster; deplores the honourable Member for Dover's appalling and inaccurate attempts to rewrite history; and looks forward to his imminent replacement as a Member of this House by an honourable Member prepared to pay proper respect to those who died, from Dover and elsewhere, in the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' tragedy.