HC Deb 14 April 1919 vol 114 cc2491-2
47. Major NEWMAN

asked the Prime Minister whether an opportunity to debate the three Reports recently presented by different sections of the Coal Commission will be afforded before the Easter Recess; is he aware that on the 5th instant there was a stoppage of work in the Swansea Valley collieries because some demobilised soldiers were allowed to work in one of the collieries; and have the Government such facts as this under consideration in any legislation of which the effect will be to add a further cost in the price of household coal to the general public?


I have been asked to answer this question. The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. I am not aware that any strike took place for the reason stated, and the third part of the question, therefore, does not arise.

59. Brigadier-General COCKERILL

asked the Prime Minister whether, before the Coal Commission proceeds to consider the question of the nationalisation of the mines, he will replace those members of the Commission who, by being prepared to report in favour of nationalisation on evidence stated by Mr. Justice Sankey to be at present insufficient, have shown themselves unlikely to form an impartial judgment on a matter which affects so vitally the whole life of the community?


asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the fact that on the Coal Commission, which will meet to resume consideration of the future of the industry, there is no representative of the private non-trading consumers; and whether, in view of the fact that their interests are so largely involved, he will consider the appointment of at least three additional members, whose primary duty will be to see that these interests are adequately safeguarded in any recommendation which may be made?


The Government have already stated that if the result of the miners' ballot is against a strike the existing Commission will proceed to deal with the other questions referred to in Mr. Justice Sankey's Report.

Brigadier-General COCKERILL

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider how much the findings of the Commission are likely to be prejudiced if no change is made in the constitution of the Commission, in view of the fact that so many of the members have already expressed their opinions on insufficient evidence?


My hon. and gallant Friend knows that the Commission is in the middle of its work; the Government do not see that it will be possible to change its composition.


Will my right hon. Friend say, in reference to Question 64, as the private non-trading consumers consumes 25 per cent, of the coal, whether he does not think that some additional members should be added to the Coal Commission to protect their interests?


I think my answer applies to that question also. The Commission has been appointed and is in the middle of its work, and the Government do not see how it is to be altered.