HC Deb 12 July 1905 vol 149 cc414-5
MR. LLEWELLYN (Somersetshire, N.)

I wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury a Question of which I have given him private notice. It is whether there is any foundation for the rumour that a foreign syndicate has been formed for acquiring possession of the South Wales coalfield, and thus for securing control of those sources of coal supply which are a prime necessity for the maintenance of the British Navy, and, if the statement be correct, what action His Majesty's Government propose to take under the circumstances.


I have heard a rumour tending in the direction of which my hon. friend has spoken. Whether that rumour has any solid foundation I am not at present in a position to say; but that we could not remain indifferent spectators of any transaction which handed over to a foreign syndicate or foreign Government the unique source of our naval mobility must be, I think, plain to the House, and so unexampled a proceeding would unquestionably require exceptional treatment.

MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that none of the collieries mentioned in connection with the proposed combine are supplying coal to the Navy?


I am not so fully acquainted as the hon. Gentleman with what is going on. If he will convey any information he possesses to me I shall be grateful.