HC Deb 08 March 1916 vol 80 c1533

asked the Minister of Munitions whether, in prosecuting a fitter before the Newcastle Munitions Tribunal, Mr. Bunbury, as representing the Ministry of Munitions, alleged that many firms urged the Ministry to undertake the prosecution of their workmen, so as to spare themselves the odium of the proceedings, and that this was particularly true of the Clyde; whether this Newcastle fitter was charged with being the worse for liquor on the establishment and with failing to attend diligently to his work; whether the first of these charges was withdrawn with the consent of Mr. Bunbury, on the ground that the evidence did not support it, and that in respect of the second charge the chairman refused to impose a fine, stating that the workman, on the whole, had worked very well; and whether, before a decision is taken by the Ministry of Munitions to prosecute an individual workman, any independent investigation is made into the circumstances or any understanding reached as to the justice and necessity of the proceedings, apart from the word of an employer or a foreman?


The facts of this case are substantially as stated by my hon. Friend. In every case in which the Ministry undertakes a prosecution, evidence adduced in support of the alleged facts is subjected to a close scrutiny, and in many cases instead of lodging a prosecution the person accused is admonished by the local labour officer. I much regret that the Ministry of Munitions was misled in this case by the statements made to it. Special measures are being taken which I hope will avoid a repetition.