§ 16. Mr. MONTAGUE
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that a Grade 3 temporary clerk, recently dismissed from the Claims and Record Office, Kew, on the ground that he was carrying on a bookmaking business in the office, admitted that he had been engaged in this unofficial occupation during official hours for a period of two to three years; that the permanent supervising and controlling officers, under whom the alleged bookmaker had served during the last five years, failed to detect the carrying on of this illegitimate business; and that a Grade 1 temporary clerk is now being reduced to Grade 3 rank, with a consequential loss in pay of 23s. a week, because he failed to detect and report the bookmaker, although he had been employed in the same section for not more than four months; and what action is he prepared to take to secure fair treatment of this Grade 1 temporary clerk, who has a good record of service with the Department?
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
Certain temporary clerks have been summarily dismissed from the Kew Office on account of their association with betting transactions within that office. Suitable disciplinary action was taken in all cases where the Department had sufficient evidence of complicity or of neglect of official duty in this connection. In the case of the clerk referred to by the hon. Member, I am satisfied that it would not have been proper to retain him in a supervisory post, and that in all the circumstances the position has been fairly met by his continuance in post as a Grade 3 clerk.
§ Mr. MONTAGUE
Is it not the case that this has been going on for the last four years, and is it not a fact that the clerk who has been dismissed had only been there for three months?
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
That is quite an incorrect idea of what has happened. There had been a certain amount of suspicion that betting had been going on inside the office for some little time, but naturally it was concealed from the authorities as far as possible. When suspicion was aroused, every effort was made to find it out, and when it was found out every officer who was culpable, as far as we know, was suitably dealt with. In the present case the clerk in question was in a supervisory capacity, and seated next to one of the people who were found out to be bookmakers, and therefore, having been seated next to him and a supervisor over him, the Department thought he was one of those who should be dealt with. The bookmakers were dismissed and the supervisor degraded.