HC Deb 05 July 1909 vol 7 cc814-5

asked the Secretary of State for Home Affairs whether his attention had been called to the disastrous accident which occurred on Friday last on the new dock works at Newport, Monmouthshire, by which 30 men lost their lives; and whether, in view of the fact that a similar accident recently occurred at Birkenhead, by which 12 men were killed, he would cause a Government or Departmental Inquiry to be held into the cause and circumstances of the accident at Newport, so that proper precautions might be taken to prevent such lamentable loss of life in future.


Yes, Sir; my attention has been drawn to this lamentable disaster. I am taking steps, in the first instance, to send an engineering expert to attend the inquest on my behalf, and report to me specially upon the causes and circumstances of this accident. When I have received his report, I propose to institute an inquiry into the special dangers which this and the Birkenhead disaster have shown to be connected with deep excavation work. Such an inquiry in the present state of the law cannot be as effective as I could wish; nor can any recommendations that may result from it be enforced until the Buildings and Engineering Works Bill now before this House, which is designed to meet special dangers in connection with work of this class, has been passed into law. I shall do my utmost to pass this Bill during the present Session.


May I ask the Prime Minister whether it would be possible for facilities to be given for the sending of the Bill in question to a Committee; it seems to be practically non-contentious?


It can be moved to-night.