HC Deb 19 December 1921 vol 149 cc372-3
4. Mr. C. WHITE

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that Sir William Ashley, who is now presiding over the Committee appointed to consider an application from certain manufacturers for the imposition of a duty of 33⅓ per cent. on certain imported glassware, has been identified with a movement for securing the imposition of a tariff on imports into this country and was associated with the late Mr. Joseph Chamberlain in the Tariff Reform movement; and will he see that in future no person shall be appointed to such office who has taken a prominent part in advocating either Free Trade or Tariff Reform, so as to establish confidence in the tribunal?


I entirely dissent from the view that any person who took the side indicated by the hon. Member in the fiscal controversy before the War, or anybody who took the opposite side, is not to be trusted to conduct impartially the investigations required under the Safeguarding of Industries Act; and, as the question has been raised, my right hon. Friend desires me to take this opportunity of publicly thanking and expressing his confidence in all those who in response to his request are placing their knowledge and experience at the disposal of the Government.

5. Mr. C. WHITE

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, although the Safeguarding of Industries Act only empowers him to appoint as members of particular Committees under Part II of the same, such gentlemen as may be already appointed as members of the permanent panel which the Act authorises him to nominate, Committees have, notwithstanding, been appointed by him in connection with the glassware and fabric glove inquiries, which contained members whose names had not appeared in the list of panel members already published by the Board of Trade; whether, after those particular Committees had been advertised and had even begun their sittings, some days elapsed before the appointment of certain of their members to the panel in question was publicly notified; how many of the gentlemen appointed to the permanent panel are nominees either of the Federation of British Industries or of the National Union of Manufacturers; and upon what principles he proceeds in determining the personnel of individual Committees of Inquiry selected from the panel?


All the members of the Committees referred to had been appointed to the panel before their selection to serve on the Committees. No member of the panel has been or will be appointed as the nominee or representative of any particular interest. The constitution of a Committee is determined solely with the object of securing an impartial and competent body to report upon the facts of the case referred to them.