HC Deb 30 May 1918 vol 106 cc974-5
96. Major HUNT

asked the Minister of Munitions whether, in the Committee appointed by him as the Staff Investigation Committee there are three members out of the seven appointed who are officials of the Ministry, including Mr. J. W. Dulanty. who is the person responsible for sanctioning appointments to the Ministry; whether the secretary of the Committee is also in the Ministry of Munitions; and whether, as these members of the Committee will be in the position of defendants sitting to judge their own case, he will consider the necessity of appointing persons who are wholly disinterested?


My hon. and gallant Friend has misunderstood the purpose of the Staff Investigation Committee, which has been appointed by the Minister of Munitions, with the concurrence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to see whether economies of staff can be secured, and to this extent is intended to strengthen the hands of those responsible to the Minister for the conduct of establishment business. The Committee includes among its members the hon. Baronet the Member for the Wellington Division of Shropshire as chairman; the hon. and gallant Member for Wolverhampton, Sir Woodman Burbidge, Mr. C. F. Wood, and the hon. Lady Mackworth, and I think that my hon. and gallant Friend may rest assured that with such a personnel the independence of the Committee is amply secured.

I may add that the chairman of the Committee, on behalf of himself and his unofficial colleagues, has informed the Minister of Munitions that without the assistance and co-operation of official members it would be impossible for the Committee to continue its work.


What is meant by the co-operation of official members?


They have the advantage of the experience and advice of these official members.


Is that advice being at present withheld from them?


No, they are already on the Committee.

Major HUNT

Could not these gentlemen give their advice without being on the Committee? Will they not be able to outvote the other members of it to a great extent?


It will not be easy for three members out of eight to outvote the other five.