HC Deb 09 December 1981 vol 14 cc862-4
43. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland when he expects to receive the report from the procurator fiscal concerning his inquiries into the fire at the nurses' home at the Victoria hospital, Kirkcaldy on 13 November.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I refer the hon. Gentleman to my previous reply to him on 26 November 1981.

Mr. Hamilton

In view of the considerable public anxiety about the matter, would it not have been better to have had a public inquiry at which all the facts could have been seen to be brought out in public? Will the report, together with the evidence that was adduced, be published, so that we may read it?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

Without giving anything away, I can say that the report, when it reaches my noble and learned Friend, will be considered with a view to seeing whether there should be a public inquiry under the Act. I do not give anything away if I say that an inquiry is likely. I might even he responsible for conducting it.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. It is time for the statements, but I shall allow one question from each side.

Mr. Henderson

I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for his last words. Will he ensure that in the meantime there is an inquiry into how long the fire may

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I assure my hon. Friend that all inquiries into this serious and worrying accident will be investigated. It is a matter for my noble and learned Friend to decide, but it is more than likely that there will be a public inquiry.

Mr. Harry Ewing

May we take it that the public inquiry, when it takes place, will be of a wide-ranging character and that, as the hon. Member for Fife, East (Mr. Henderson) said, every aspect of that tragic fire will be taken into account? Will the Solicitor-General draw to the attention of his hon. Friend the Minister for Health the condition in which the building has been left? The fire-damaged windows have not been boarded up and loose curtains are blowing all over the place. It is a disgraceful sight for people going in and out of the hospital and a constant reminder of the horrors suffered by the nurses.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I am sure that my hon. Friend the Minister for Health will have heard those remarks. Between him and the local authority perhaps something will be done about it. If an inquiry is ordered by my noble and learned Friend, I assure the House that it will be wide ranging. There has been a delay because of the immense amount of investigation that has gone on in preparation for any inquiry.