HC Deb 15 July 1953 vol 517 cc2052-3
41. Mr. Bence

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will make a statement on the practice of officials in the Royal Naval Aircraft Workshops. Almondbank, in using the services of employees at the workshops for the construction of a number of articles, for private use, a list of which has been sent to him.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Wingfield Digby)

I do not accept that there is or has been any such practice. As the hon. Member is fully aware, allegations of such a practice have already been the subject of exhaustive inquiries, and they have not been substantiated.

Mr. Bence

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the alleged report that an official of the workshops was disqualified from a motor-cycle racing competition because his machine was not a standard machine, but had a frame which had been made of special aircraft alloys at the workshops?

Mr. Digby

I do not know. I should be glad to have details of that report.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is my hon. Friend aware that this place is in my constituency and well known to me, and that had there been a serious complaint I am quite sure it would have come to me?

Mr. Hobson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it was admitted at the inquiry that work had been done and that the difference of opinion was only as to the size of the work done?

Mr. Digby

No case was made out against anyone, and we must assume that a person is innocent until he is proved guilty.

Mr. Pannell

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that inquiries into this matter have been proceeding for the last two years and that at the inquiry in another place the full case was not denied, but was merely difficult to prove owing to the passage of time? Can we have an assurance from the hon. Gentleman that there will be no victimisation against those people in the factory who gave evidence on these malpractices.

Mr. Digby

Certainly there will be no victimisation. One of the reasons why the inquiry went on so long was because the alleged practices had gone on for two years before they were reported at all, and then they were not reported to the Superintendent of the Workshops.

Mr. Bence

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I wish to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.