HC Deb 10 February 1882 vol 266 c374

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether, having regard to the recent loss of life on board Her Majesty's ships, caused by xerotine siccative, the Government has taken or contemplates taking any steps to cancel the appointment of those scientific gentlemen whose duty it is to investigate the nature of substances intended for use in the Royal Navy; and, what is the amount of money already expended by the department on this dangerous and unmanageable substance?


Sir, in answer to the hon. and learned Member for Bridport, I can only repeat my statement of last night, that the Correspondence and Reports relating to xerotine siccative are partly at hand and partly in process of collection from abroad, and that the decision of the Board will be laid before Parliament, with the grounds on which it was arrived at. In justice to all concerned, that is the shape in which the conclusions of the Government on matters relating to the responsibility and conduct of public officers should be laid before the House of Commons. The amount expended on the compound referred to was £1,000 since 1875.


gave Notice that, in consequence of the answer just given, he would, on a future day, ask whether the proper persons who ought to investigate such a matter ever had anything to do with it at all; and whether any precautions were taken in connection with the placing of this explosive compound on board any of Her Majesty's ships?