§ Mr. JOHN WARD
asked the Home Secretary whether he can state what efforts, if any, are being taken, by the dock company or their contractors to recover the bodies of the thirty-four workmen who were killed in the disaster at Newport last year, and if he has any knowledge of the difficulties of identification experienced 1138 by the county court judge at Newport in the compensation claims owing to the failure of the people responsible to re-excavate the collapsed trench; and, if so, what action he proposes to take in the matter?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
The Secretary of State is informed by the superintending inspector of factories for the division that owing to the shifting nature of the soil and to the incursion of water the cavity containing the wrecked timber and the bodies had to be filled with dry sand last autumn, and the newly made ground required time to settle. It was then found to be unsafe to begin the reconstruction of the collapsed trench owing to the tidal pressure, and the construction of concrete monoliths was decided upon as a precautionary measure. The engineers advised that these must be completed before the excavation of the collapsed trench could be undertaken with any measure of safety, and the work of constructing them is actively going on. The Secretary of State has no information as to the proceedings in the county court. As the hon. Member is aware, he has no jurisdiction at present in regard to works of construction of this kind, and there does not appear to be any action which he can usefully take in this matter.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
Arising out of the last part of the answer, can the hon. Gentleman intimate to the County Court judge that cases ought not to be dismissed for want of identification if it is the absence of re-excavation that makes that lack possible?