HC Deb 08 October 1941 vol 374 cc985-7
51. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply whether he will make immediate investigations in regard to Mr. J. Clark, a chemist at a Royal Ordnance Factory, who alleges he was dismissed because he exposed inefficiency in the administration of the factory?

59. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply whether he is aware that Mr. Clark, of Bryn Mally Hall, Wrexham, has been dismissed for urging, in a well-known periodical, greater efficiency in a Royal Ordnance Factory in which he was employed; and what steps he intends to take to avoid victimisation of this kind?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

This chemist was serving on probation, and his services were terminated before the period of probation expired, in view of reports by his superior officers indicating that he was not likely to prove suitable" for retention in the particular factory at which he was working. These reports were made before the article referred to was published. I am informed that the National Service Officer, acting under the Essential Work (General Provisions) Order, accorded his permission, and that Mr. Clark intends to appeal to the local appeal board.

Mr. Strauss

Is my hon. Friend aware that the allegations of inefficiency in this factory were supported in a written statement by 10 out of the 14 chemists working there, and that one of the charges against these chemists by the superintendent was that they were displaying misplaced sympathy with working people? In view of the important principles raised in this case, will my hon. Friend's Department make a special inquiry into the facts?

Mr. Macmillan

I am dealing not with 10 chemists but with one, and the allegations made on the Paper and made generally is that he was dismissed because of an article he wrote in a newspaper. I pointed out, however, that his services were terminated before and not after the article.

Mr. McGovern

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is not the only case?

Mr. Edwards

Is the Minister certain that the dismissal was before publication? Has he personally seen the records on that point? My information is that by a strange coincidence this chemist's inefficiency was discovered only after he had criticised the inefficiency of his superior officers.

Mr. McGovern

Are there not other cases of people who have been dismissed, and will the Minister have an inquiry made?

Mr. Speaker

This Question is about one definite case, and we cannot go into others.

Mr. Edwards

May I have a reply to my Question?

Mr. Macmillan

I have answered it. The facts as they were stated to me are as I have said in my reply. If my hon. Friend says that he has different information, I will, of course, make further inquiry to assure myself that the facts given to me are correct.

Mr. Edwards

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.