HC Deb 17 March 1913 vol 50 cc687-8

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the case of C. E. Smith, a boilermaker lately in the service of the Great Western Railway Company at Swindon, who on 16th November was elected by his fellow workmen a member of the Court of Referees under Part II of the National Insurance Act, and was discharged from the company's employment on the 29th November; whether he is aware that there is a feeling prevalent among his fellow workers that Smith was discharged in consequence of his political opinions and desire to administer the Act; and whether he will take steps to have a full inquiry into the circumstances of the case?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Buxton)

The Board of Trade have called the attention of the Great Western Railway Company to the allegation made that this man and others have been discharged from their employment on account of their political views. The Company have assured me that they have made most careful inquiry, but can find no foundation for such a suggestion, and that the men employed at Swindon are absolutely free to belong to any political party and to exercise their rights of citizenship without any interference whatever.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the discharge took place on account of an Act of Parliament, Part II. of the Insurance Act, and not on political grounds, but because this man was asked to represent his fellows under the Insurance Act?


Has the company stated the actual grounds of discharge?


Perhaps the hon. Member will give notice of that question.


Will the right hon. Gentleman state the grounds on which he refuses to make an impartial inquiry into the matter?


I have no power to make any such inquiry.