HC Deb 08 May 1928 vol 217 cc161-3
17 and 18. Mr. HARDIE

asked the Secretary for Mines (1) the quantity or the equivalent of coal required to produce the hydrogen for hydrogenation, gas for heating, and power for compression, etc., in working the Bergius plant;

(2) what has been the experience of the Research Department with regard to the identity of all neutral oils from bituminous coal?

Commodore KING

With regard to these questions, replies on such highly technical subjects would need so much qualification that it is not possible to keep them to a reasonable length. If the hon. Member will communicate to me more exact details of his requirements, I will provide him with a statement.


How is the House to be informed of that which it is supposed to deal with if we get answers like this? The two questions I have put down are the most simple questions that could be put to the Mines Department. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am not talking about those who are cackling now. I want to know—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"]—I want your ruling, Mr. Speaker, on this point. After having put down two questions, I am requested, as there seems to be so great a wealth of detail in them, to submit to some sort of underhand, behind-the-Speaker's-Chair method, because they do not want these things made public. It is these underhand efforts—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech!"]


I cannot allow questions to be put in that form.

At the end of Questions


On a point of Order. I desire to get this information through a question on the Order Paper, and I want to know whether, if I put these questions down in different words, they will be again ruled out of order?


I cannot rule in advance on something I have not seen. The hon. Gentleman will no doubt take into account what the Secretary for Mines said to-day, and perhaps between them they will be able to arrive at a form of question which will enable the technical and scientific information to be given for the benefit of the whole House.


Is it not in order to put "et cetera" when we get the impression from the answers given that there is something that we cannot get to know, and we use "et cetera" in order to get at the truth?


May I submit that the information required cannot be, in the nature of the case, within the cognisance of the Secretary for Mines or any other Minister in this House; and that such information as is available has already been published in the public Press and in the proceedings of the various scientific societies, and that all those who are really interested in this matter are perfectly well aware that the information which has already been published is as much as we can expect to get in the present state of our knowledge?


Can we not arrange for the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson) to sit on the Treasury Bench to answer these questions?

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