§ 12. Mr. NIELD
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the number and character of fires which have, since the outbreak of war, taken places throughout the country, and especially in those which have consumed factories or other premises used for industrial purposes; and whether, in order to allay public anxiety as to the origin of such fires and to ascertain the facts both as to past or future conflagrations, he will introduce a measure to apply the City of London Fire Inquests Act, 1888, to the whole of the United Kingdom and treat it as emergency legislation?
§ Sir J. SIMON
Close attention is being given to this subject and the police examine into every case where there is ground for suspicion. The number of fires 484 since the outbreak of war has not, so far as my information goes, been unusually large. I will consider the suggestion contained in the question, but as at present advised, I think inquiry by the police, made without unnecessary publicity, is likely to be more effective in cases where a hostile act is suspected than a coroner's inquiry, the publicity of which might defeat the object in view.