21 November 1989, Westminster, United Kingdom
Ian Gow was a Conservative Northern Irish minister under Thatcher. He was murdered by the IRA the year after this address.
I beg to move, "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, as follows:""Most Gracious Sovereign,""We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both House of Parliament." I am mindful of the honour done by my constituents through my being invited to make this speech. A year ago, the Leader of the Opposition, quoting the admirable Mr. Colin Welch of the Daily Mail, described my hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Sir G. Shaw)—who had just moved the motion—as a "roly-poly version of Dr. Bodkin Adams."—[Official Report. 22 November 1988; Vol. 142, c. 13.]" The House, and certainly my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley), may think that that description applies rather better to me. I am sad to have to confirm that the good doctor is no longer with us—sad, because at each dissolution of Parliament he used to send a £5 note for my fighting fund.
I have always voted against the televising of the proceedings of this House, and I expect that I always will. The brief intervention earlier of the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) did nothing to alter my view. Despite my strongly held opinions, a letter that I received —three weeks ago—I believe that a copy was sent to each of us and possibly even to you, Mr. Speaker—made the following preposterous assertion: "The impression you make on television depends mainly on your image (55 per cent.) with your voice and body language accounting for 38 per cent. of your impact. Only 7 per cent. depends on what you are actually saying." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I thought that I should enlist the sympathy of the Opposition with that last proposition.
The letter went on—and hon. Members may think that this is an extravagant claim so far as I am concerned: "We can guarantee to improve your appearance through a personal and confidential image consultation. You will learn if you need a new hair style—and where to get it—and the type of glasses to suit your face." The House will understand why I considered that I was beyond redemption on both counts.
Eastbourne has been a separate parliamentary constituency since 1885. Then the electorate was 8,000; today it is 80,000. I am glad to report that for 100 out of those 104 years Eastbourne has been represented in the Conservative interest. The solitary lapse took place in 1906, but four years of Liberal representation were more than enough and provoked the highest turnout ever recorded—90·3 per cent.— at the following general election. Since then, Eastbourne has been true blue, and, since 1974, dry as well.
East Sussex has long attracted the retired and semi-retired. Lord Shawcross lives at Friston, the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), whose decision not to seek re-election to this place we all deplore, is the squire of Alfriston and Lord Callaghan has his estate nearby. It will be a source of satisfaction to the Opposition, particularly to those who sit below the Gangway, as it is to me, to learn that those three comrades have been able to share in the growing prosperity of the nation created during the premiership of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.
Others have shared in that prosperity. Over these past years, 1,657 former tenants of our borough council have bought their houses or flats. They remember that the right-to-buy legislation was fiercely opposed by the Labour party. I was proud to have had a hand in extending the opportunities for home ownership in the Housing Act 1985.
Last month, phase two of our district general hospital was opened. All the medical wards have been transferred from St. Mary's hospital, which was built in Napoleonic days, to our new hospital. I am pleased to be able to tell the House that our hospital has informed my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health of its intention to seek approval to become a self-governing hospital trust within the National Health Service.
In August 1980, the House gave a Third Reading to the Eastbourne Harbour Bill. Indeed, 180 of my right hon. and hon. Friends stayed up until 6.10 am to vote for it. The House will want to know that construction work on the harbour project is well under way. Jobs are being created in the short and long term. The new harbour will keep Eastbourne in the vanguard—no, ahead of the vanguard—of Britain's increasingly important and increasingly successful tourist industry.
When the harbour is completed, our fishermen will no longer have to drag their craft on to the beach. There will be berths for 1,800 small boats. Miners from Bolsover, entrepreneurs from Newham, North-West, refugees from Brent, East, grocers from Old Bexley, intellectuals, real or imagined, from Chesham and Amersham and the hon. baronet the Member for Clwyd, North-West (Sir A. Meyer), whose reported aspirations to become the Queen's first Minister I am unable to endorse—all these and many more besides—will be able to moor their boat or seek refuge from the storm in the new Eastbourne harbour.