HC Deb 13 November 1940 vol 365 cc1688-9
19 and 20. Sir R. Acland

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aircraft Production (1) whether he has been able to make a decision to agree to the request of the shop stewards at the aircraft factory in the North-West of England for an inquiry into questions which they have raised;

(2) whether any decision has been taken to hold an inquiry into the allegations of the workmen at a certain aircraft factory about which private representations have been made to him?

Colonel Llewellin

Yes, Sir. My Noble Friend is having inquiries made into the matters referred to in these Questions.

Sir R. Acland

Is the nature of the inquiry to be of the kind suggested in the communications which have passed between us, or is it merely to be a Governmental inquiry, in which the men cannot be expected to have confidence?

Colonel Llewellin

I do not know why the men should not have confidence in a Governmental inquiry, when the Government represents all parties—[Interruption]—with the exception of—

Mr. Maxton

Some of us.

Colonel Llewellin

I should have thought that a Governmental inquiry might have been the right one. Do not let me say anything to misrepresent the position to my hon. Friend. We have had a statement of the case from the shop stewards, and we have just received comments on that from the other side. We are considering those two statements together in the first instance.

Mr. Hicks

In such circumstances, would the hon. and gallant Gentleman ask that the shop stewards should make their requests through the trade unions, which is their best way to get representation? If there is to be an inquiry at all, should it not be done through their organisations?

Colonel Llewellin

I quite agree with what my hon. Friend has said. Ultimately we may deal with the matter in that way. My Noble Friend, in the peculiar circumstances of the case, did see the shop stewards, but in the normal way the practice of the Department must be, and should be, to deal with these matters through the trade union representatives.

Sir R. Acland

Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman discuss this matter with me afterwards? There are important issues involved, and it is conceivable that it may be necessary to raise the matter at some other time.

Mr. Granville

Is not this a matter for the Minister of Labour?