§ MR. LEA (St. Pancras, E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty why the directors of the Ayrshire Foundry Company or the officials of that company, who were responsible, were not brought to trial for fraud for their conduct in supplying a defective rudder for H.M.S. "King Edward VII."; and, considering all the circumstances of the case as reported in paragraph 18 of the Report from the Public Accounts Committee, who is responsible at the Admiralty for the fact that a criminal prosecution was not instituted.
§ MR. SMEATON (Stirlingshire)
At the same time may I ask the Secretary to the Admiralty why the manager of the Ayrshire Foundry Company has not been prosecuted for fraud in having supplied to the Admiralty the rudder for H.M.S. "King Edward VII.," which they knew to have a dangerous flaw, which flaw they concealed by a secret electric welding operation on a Sunday during the absence of the official inspector; and whether, in view of the recent disclosures regarding adulteration of cordite, the adulteration of canvas, and the secret commission paid by an Admiralty con tractor to certain stewards for passing ready-made clothing, he will take steps to deal with such cases with the utmost severity permitted by the Law.
§ MR. LAMBERT
The question of a prosecution was carefully considered, but the law officers of the Crown, under all the circumstances, advised against that course. The firm in question was immediately struck off the contractors' list, and the running contract cancelled. The Admiralty will certainly use all their legal powers to suppress and punish such malpractices.
§ MR. BELLOC (Salford, S.)
asked whether the names of the directors of the company were to be given to the House.
§ MR. LAMBERT
The name of the company is stated in the Question and in the Report. I do not know the names of the directors.