§ MR. MACDONALD
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If his attention has been directed to the account of an explosion which appeared in the "Birmingham Weekly Post," which occurred in the Black Lake Colliery, Swan village, Staffordshire, on the 7th instant, whereby the manager J. E. Cooksey and several other persons were severely burned; if it be correct that the manager took those persons into the mine along with him before it had been examined as to whether it was safe or not; if the manager holds a Government certificate of competency; and, whether he will direct or instruct a legal gentleman to attend the inquest on behalf of the State?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
, in reply, said, that in consequence of the hon. Member's Question he had communicated with Mr. Baker, the Inspector, who informed him that Mr. J. E. Cooksey, the manager, held a certificate of competency since February, 1875, and that until recently he had been certificated manager of a colliery at Wednesbury. Secondly, it was not correct that the manager had taken the men into the mine along with him before it had been examined as to whether it was safe or not. On the contrary, the mine had been examined and reported safe before the men went to work. Immediately after the explosion two men descended, and they stated that they found two safety lamps unscrewed, in which case, if correct, it would not be difficult to account for the explosion. He would make further inquiries, and ascertain if it would be necessary to send anyone to represent the Government at the inquest.