§ 46. Mr. DAVID ADAMS
asked the Prime Minister if he has considered the resolution sent to him from the Poplar Borough Council, protesting against the action of the Government in permitting the export of munitions for use in the Far East and particularly against the despatch of 640 tons of explosives now lying in the West India Dock, produced in a Government factory by Government workers and transported by train from Bramley to Woolwich in contravention of the safety regulations, thus endangering the lives of workers engaged in transport and loading; and if he will state what he proposes to do in this matter?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Mr. Duff Cooper)
I have been asked to reply. The explosives referred to were shipped to meet British service requirements in Singapore and Hong Kong. The normal safety regulations dealing with the carriage of explosives by rail were waived under the authority of a warrant issued on behalf of the Secretary of State. This procedure was adopted in the interests of economy and for the sake of expedition as the ship on which freight had been specially arranged was ready to sail.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
As a resident in that district, may I ask whether it is right that we should be subject to this kind of danger when there are regulations laid down in order to avert any possibility of such danger?
§ Mr. COOPER
The regulations laid down are for the purpose of diminishing the risks as far as possible. In this case, a greater risk is taken in only one respect. There is always a greater risk if you put all your eggs into one basket. That was the only risk.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The hon. Member will admit that this is a very serious 22 matter for the people in the neighbourhood. For the sake of delaying the ship one day, is it right to subject them to the risk which the War Office admits exists. They are all poor people in Poplar, and we do not think the same thing would happen in Westminster without a protest. [Interruption.]