HC Deb 03 November 1919 vol 120 cc1120-1
62 Colonel NEWMAN

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he can give the House any information regarding a proposal involving the immediate nationalisation and joint management by organised labour of the railways, which was lately the subject of secret negotiations between the Government and certain trade union officials, and which resulted in a decision of the Government to nominate a Railway Committee with railway workers appointed on it;

(2) whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce legislation repealing or amending the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919; if not, will he say under what Clause of the Act the Government are taking powers to appoint a Railway Committee to advise the Government on matters affecting the interests of the railways and the State; if it is their intention to appoint the Minister of Transport a member of the Railway Committee;

(3) whether he can give the names of the Railway Committee with which it is intended to replace the present Executive Committee; and will he say which of these names has been chosen to represent the shareholders at present owning the railway systems of the country and the traders and public using the systems?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave on Thursday last to a question on this subject. The power to appoint the Committee is given by Section 23 of the Ministry of Transport Act, but, as the Committee is not yet set up, I am unable to give the names of the members. When, however, it is set up, the names will be announced, and it will then be seen that the interests referred to are fully represented.


Will care be taken that representatives of the shareholders are put upon the Committee?


Certainly. They constitute the whole of the Executive Committee, and they will be largely represented.


I mean shareholders electing some of their own members; not merely members of the Executive Committee, but some independent representation of the shareholders.


I will consider that, but, as my right hon. Friend knows, directors are supposed to be elected by the shareholders.