§ Lord H. CAVENDISH-BENTINCK
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department a question, of which I have given him private notice, with reference to the disastrous fire which occurred yesterday whereby eight girls lost their lives: Whether he is aware that the room in which these girls worked was wholly unprovided with any means of escape; and whether, seeing that the London County Council possesses ample powers for enforcing the provision of adequate means of escape from fire on owners and occupiers, and that, should the council fail in its duty, the Factory and Workshops Act of 1901 prescribes intervention by the factory inspector, he will at once 1185 cause inquiry to be made why the workplace in question was left in a condition which has produced this terrible catastrophe; and whether, as the rapid spread of the fire appears to have been due to the presence and use of celluloid in the workshop affected, he will consider the necessity of issuing an Order enforcing special precautions in all workplaces where this dangerous and inflammable substance enters into the process of manufacture?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I have only received notice of this question within the last twenty-five minutes. In dealing with this lamentable disaster, I need hardly assure the Noble Lord that any circumstances which come within the province of the Home Office shall receive the fullest investigation.