§ MR. MOSS (Denbighshire, E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that Mr. Hall, the inspector for North Wales under the Coal Mines Regulation Acts, and Dr. Foster, the late inspector for North Wales under the Metalliferous Mines Acts, were appointed prior to the passing of the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1887, and the Quarries Act, 1894, respectively; and, seeing that Dr. Foster having now resigned, the appointment of Mr. Hall as his successor (he, prior to this appointment, not having been inspector for North Wales under the Metalliferous Mines Acts, but only under the Coal Mines Regulation Acts) now comes under the provisions of the Metalliferous Mines Act, 1872, Section 15, as amended by the Quarries Act, 1894, Section 2, Sub-section 2, and in view of the fact that Mr. Hall is not able to speak the Welsh language, and that there are thousands of monoglot miners in North Wales, whether he will, in accordance with the statutory requirements, appoint an inspector in successsion to Dr. Foster acquainted with the Welsh language.
§ *MR. RITCHIE
The answer to the first paragraph of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second paragraph, it is true that Mr. Hall has not hitherto been inspector for North Wales under the Metalliferous Mines Acts, but he has been the inspector under the Coal Mines Acts, and in accordance with the express provisions of Section 15 of the Metalliferous Mines Act of 1872, I am directing him to act as Metalliferous Mines Inspector in North Wales, and in pursuance of Section 2, Subsection (2), of the Quarries Act of 1894, he will also he inspector of quarries in that district. I am not, therefore, making a new appointment, to which contingency alone, in my opinion, the section of the Quarries Act to which the hon. Member refers applies. Even if it were otherwise, that section requires merely that "among candidates equally qualified, persons having a knowledge of the Welsh language shall be preferred." In this case there was no candidate whose qualifications, could compare with those of Mr. Hall, upon whose ability and good service I need hardly enlarge. With reference to the consideration due to the Welsh-speaking miners, I would repeat that, in accordance with a general scheme of rearrangement in the mines inspection districts, of which this particular question is only part, Mr. Williams and Mr. Jones, the two Welsh-speaking assistant inspectors in North Wales, who have hitherto acted not only for that district but also for four English counties and the Isle of Man, will now devote themselves entirely to inspection in Wales. The new arrangement will, therefore, secure a considerable increase of inspection there by Welsh-speaking inspectors.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
The question is whether the appointment of an inspector to duties different from those he had hitherto performed, and in a different district, did not constitute a new appointment.