I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the two fatal and mysterious explosions which have this week occurred in ironworks in Glasgow; and whether, with a view to preventing similar catastrophes, he will follow the practice adopted by the Home Office on various previous occasions in Scotland, and institute a special public inquiry into the causes of these disastrous occurrences?
§ MR. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars, &c.)
also asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to an extraordinary accident which occurred at Dixon's Iron Works, in Glasgow, on Tuesday last, which resulted in the loss of five lives; and if he will direct an inquiry to be made into the circumstances of the accident in order to discover its cause?
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART-WORTIET,) Sheffield, Hallam
I will answer this question and that of the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow (Mr. Provand) at the same time. The Crown Agent has called the Secretary of State's attention to one fatal accident at Dixon and Co.'s chemical works, and states that at present no idea can be formed of the origin of the explosion, and that until the débris has I been removed, which is now being done, 923 no inspection can be made. The case presents certain difficulties, as the work in question was peculiar of its kind, no similar work being, I believe, in operation elsewhere in Scotland. The Chief Inspector of Explosives informs the Secretary of State that, as far as he can judge at present, the case is entirely outside the Explosives Act; but should the preliminary inquiry give reason to believe that the accident was the result of any explosive material within that Act, the Secretary of State would be prepared to order an inquiry by one of his officers. The place has been visited by an Inspector of Factories. We have not yet received his Report. Should the case seem to the Secretary of State to call for special inquiry other than that provided by the Explosives Act, he will communicate with the Secretary for Scotland with a view of determining what shape the inquiry should take.
I will ask a further question on the subject in a few days, and perhaps the hon. Member will then be able to give me more information.