§ *MR. BELLAIRS (Lynn Regis)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the Report of His Majesty's Inspector of Explosives, that the offence of Kynoch, Limited, in adding mercuric chloride for the purpose of masking the only available test, was one liable to be a cause of great danger in that with explosives so treated there is no means whatever of finding out if they are dangerously unstable, and that a test would lead to the belief that dangerously unstable explosives were fit for prolonged storage, hot climates, or drastic treatment for purposes of thawing them; and, in view of the statements conveyed therein of the way the lives of miners, soldiers, and sailors have been hazarded, what punishment has been visited on the firm.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
Large quantities of Messrs. Kynoch's explosives were placed under seizure and proceedings were instituted against the firm in various parts of England, Scotland, and Wales, for breach of the terms of their licence. At Grays they were fined £25 and the explosive was ordered to be forfeited. Further legal proceedings were stayed in pursuance of the terms of the agreement which I fully explained to the House in my statement of the 27th June last. These terms included the acceptance of the magisterial decision, and the withdrawal of their appeal. The severe losses, direct and indirect, which the firm have sustained, have, in my opinion, inflicted a heavy penalty upon them.
§ MR. RIDSDALE (Brighton)
inquired whether Messrs. Kynoch had been removed from the list of contractors.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
That has nothing to do with my Department. The Question should be addressed to the Secretary for War.
§ MR. MOONEY (Newry)
Is it not a fact that Messrs. Kynoch agreed to a verdict being given against them on technical grounds, and the Home Office agreed to withdraw all imputations of any kind whatever; and does the right. hon. Gentleman think it fair, therefore, to use the Order Paper of this House to-repeat this charge?
§ *MR. BELLAIRS
Was the definite charge of using chloride in order to facilitate passing the heat test withdrawn?