HC Deb 18 August 1919 vol 119 cc2003-4

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House stated on behalf of the Government—I am not giving the actual words, but they are on record—that the Government accepted in the letter and the spirit the Interim Report of Mr. Justice Sankey's Commission. In that Report there is a recommendation in favour of the unification and reorganisation of the industry. In his Final Report Mr. Justice Sankey proceeded with his interpretation of that principle. We accept the principle, but we cannot accept Mr. Justice Sankey's final interpretation. His scheme for carrying that out we cannot accept. He has a proposal for State purchase and State working of the mines. He bases his recommendation solely on the expectation that it will produce greater harmony between employer and worker in the mines. He does not recommend it, apart from that, as a business proposition. He does not say "The mines will be better worked." Apart from the question of unification and reorganisation, he bases it entirely upon the expectation that there will be increased harmony between employer and worker in the mines. But since Mr. Justice Sankey penned that Report two or three things have happened which I think would have induced him to change his mind had he had them before his mind at the time. In his Report he also recommends a scheme to avert strikes, and that is as essential a part of his proposal as his proposal for the purchase and working of the mines by the State. What is the scheme? It is not a scheme to deprive the miners of the right to strike. It is simply a scheme to provide that they shall not strike until there is inquiry by the various councils set up under the nationalising scheme. The miners in their report are prepared to accept the nationalisation proposal, but they cannot accept the proposal to avert strikes.


Where do they say that?


My hon. Friend cannot have read the Report.


I do not dissent. The Miners Federation of Great Britain, which is the official authority to speak for the miners, have said most distinctly that nationalisation would tend to propagate peace in the industry.