§ 9. Mr. M. Stewart
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will institute an inquiry into the circumstances of the sale by the Admiralty to Mr. John Dorling of a vessel subsequently found to be defective.
§ Mr. J. P. L. Thomas
No, Sir. As the hon. Member is aware, the sale of this vessel was the subject of a recent action in the High Court. The action was withdrawn with the judge's approval, on terms which were described in court by Mr. Dorling's own counsel as generous on the part of the Admiralty. I see no reason to institute an inquiry.
§ Mr. Stewart
Does the First Lord appreciate that this vessel was made from timber which was subsequently found to be diseased; that it was described at the time of purchase as having oak frames, a statement subsequently proved to be inaccurate; that the purchaser, Mr. John Dorling, was not given proper facilities for examining the vessel before the purchase; and that, whatever may have been thought of the recent settlement in the High Court, the amount given in compensation is little more than half the sum paid by the purchaser?
§ Mr. Thomas
I must say that Mr. Dorling was under no compulsion to buy this vessel. I think that the fact that his own counsel said that the Admiralty were generous in the settlement is a sufficient answer.