HC Deb 02 August 1946 vol 426 cc1358-9
The Minister of Fuel and Power (Mr. Shinwell)

In fulfilment of the promise which I gave on 9th July. I am now able to inform the House of the constitution of the Committee of Inquiry into the metalliferous and other mineral resources of this country, and their development. It is as follows:—Lord Westwood (Chairman), Mr. T. Balogh, Mr. A. R. Davies, Mr. L. C. Hill, Professor W. R. Jones, Professor A. O. Rankine, Professor J. A. S. Ritson, Mr. Stanley Robson, the hon. Member for Lanark (Mr. Steele), the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorney-croft), Mr. R. E. Yeabsley, the Secretary-is Mr. W. C. C. Rose, Ministry of Fuel and Power.

The Committee, which will be known as the Mineral Development Committee, has the following terms of reference: To enquire into the resources of minerals in the United Kingdom, excepting coal, oil, bedded ironstone, and substances of widespread occurrence; to consider possibilities and means of their co-ordinated, orderly and economic development in the national interest and to make recommendations.

Mrs. Leah Manning

May I ask whether there are no distinguished women geologists in this country, and whether the right hon. Gentleman has tried to find any? I have never heard the names mentioned of any women on any important Government Committee since I have been in the House.

Mr. Shinwell

As regards the names of women on important Government Committees, it is not long since I appointed the hon. Member for North Lanark (Miss Herbison) to the Miners' Welfare Commission, and in the reconstitution of that Commission I have reappointed her. As regards women geologists, I have no doubt they exist, but so far, I have not been made aware of the existence of any woman who is suitable for this Committee.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Is the House to take it that this Committee has some political significance by the inclusion in it of two hon. Members of this House? It would seem unusual if it is a purely fact finding and technological body of expert geologists and others, that hon. Members should be included.

Mr. Shinwell

All committees set up by this House with the consent of this House bear political implications, but the reason for including the names of the hon. Member for Lanark and the hon. Member for Monmouth is that I thought it would be desirable to have on the Committee some persons who were closely associated with the House and would be able because of their association with particular constituencies to offer some guidance.

Captain Crookshank

Why does the right hon. Gentleman say that the Committee is set up with the consent of this House? Surely this Committee has not asked for the consent of this House?

Mr. Shinwell

One of the reasons why this Committee is being set up is because representations have been made by hon. Members who are concerned with the development of tin, copper and lead that an inquiry should be instituted, and of course the House can object to any such Committee if they think fit.