HL Deb 20 December 1973 vol 348 cc555-8

3.50 p.m.


My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, I will answer the Private Notice Question which was asked earlier, by way of a Statement.

Let us put it this way: a youngster is sentenced and his Saturday afternoon is affected and he is prevented from going, say, to football matches. That in itself is not a very terrible thing. But to that young person it is a great deterrent from continuing the kind of action that had taken place and caused him to be sent to an attendance centre. The position, in my view, is very clear, and I hope that your Lordships will vote in favour of this Amendment.

3.44 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 37) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 24; Not-Contents, 52.

Birk, B. Janner, L. [Teller.] Sainsbury, L.
Champion, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L. Sempill, Ly.
Collison, L. Macleod of Borve, B. Shackleton, L.
Gardiner, L. Monson, L. Snow, L.
Granville of Eye, L. Phillips, B. Strathcarron, L.
Hacking, L. Redcliffe-Maud, L. Wells-Pestell, L. [Teller.]
Hanworth, V. Roberthall, L. Winterbottom, L.
Hurcomb, L. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly. Wootton of Abinger, B.
Aberdare, L. Greenway, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Grenfell, L. Onslow, E.
Amory, V. Gridley, L. Platt, L.
Auckland, L. Grimston of Westbury, L. Polwarth, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Hailes, L. Rankeillour, L.
Bradford, E. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Reigate, L.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]
Brooke of Ystradfellte, B. Harvey of Prestbury, L. St. Helens, L.
Colville of Culross, V. Hood, V. Sandford, L.
Conesford, L. Hunt of Fawley, L. Strathclyde, L.
de Clifford, L. Lauderdale, E. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Loudoun, C.
Drumalbyn, L. Lyell, L. Strathspey, L.
Elles, B. Massereene and Ferrard, V. Stuart of Findhorn, V.
Ferrers, E. Merrivale, L. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, B.
Furness, V. Monck, V. Vivian, L.
Gainford, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L. Windlesham, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Gowrie, E. Northchurch, B. Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

I very much regret to inform the House that at 5.37 p.m. last night an 11-coach passenger train from Paddington to Oxford was derailed when travelling at speed between Ealing Broadway and West Ealing stations. Ten passengers were killed and 53 injured, 8 of them seriously enough to be still detained in hospital.

The House will wish to know that my right honourable friend the Minister for Transport Industries has received a message of sympathy from the Queen and Prince Philip which, at Her Majesty's request, he has passed on to the Chairman of the Railways Board. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has also sent a message to the Chairman. I know the House will join with me in expressing most deep sympathy with the relatives of those who were killed and with the injured. The police, fire and ambulance services were on the scene within five minutes of the derailment. I should like to acknowledge the magnificent way in which they and the voluntary services carried out the work of rescue. It is also right to mention with gratitude the immediate help given by drivers from local depots; they have called off their non-co-operation for the time being in order to get things straight as soon as possible. I am not able at this stage to inform the House of the cause of this tragic accident, but I understand that neither vandalism nor the recent repairs to the track at this point were any part of the cause. One of my Department's Inspecting Officers went to the scene last night and the Chief inspecting Officer will be holding a public inquiry as soon as possible.


My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her reply to my Private Notice Question. I am sure the House will wish to join with Her Gracious Majesty and Her Majesty's Government in their expressions of sympathy with the relatives of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident, and with the many injured. In the case of many accidents in the past, members of the public who crowded to the scene have made the work of those capable of dealing with the injured more difficult. In this case I would echo the words of Commander Payne of the Metropolitan Police, who praised the public for their co-operation and, as he put it, instead of having to contend with a large number of sightseers, those who have been here have been very helpful". I am sure this House would wish to thank those who did come and who were helpful, and those who, realising their incapability of helping, stayed away and left the roads clear for the ambulances and the other services.

Also, at a time when railwaymen are not particularly popular, I as a railway-man should like to thank the Government for their expression of gratitude to those railwaymen who forgot their immediate difficulties with their employers, who turned out and are helping to do everything possible to clear things up. Guesses as to the cause of the accident would be very ill-timed at the moment. We must await the result of the inquiry of the Chief Inspecting Officer. When his report comes, we shall have to consider that; but for the moment I end where I began, by echoing the expression of sympathy made by the noble Baroness, Lady Young.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Baroness for her Statement, may I join with noble Lords on behalf of my colleagues in expressing our deepest sympathy with the relatives of those killed and injured in this accident. May I also express our admiration for the police and the ambulance and hospital staff in the admirable work they have done. I should like to express our admiration for those members of the public who live near where the accident took place and who, as we understand, opened their houses and gardens in order to assist the injured and those who were doing the wonderful work of relief.


My Lords, may I thank both the noble Lords, Lord Champion and Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran, for their expressions of sympathy for those involved in this disaster, and for their acknowledgement of the great help given by the public in this matter. We are grateful also for their expressions of admiration for the police, fire and ambulance services, and for the many residents who live near the accident and came forward to help. I should also like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Champion, for his acknowledgement of the Government's statement of appreciation of what the railwaymen have done in this particular circumstance.


My Lords, as the former Member for Oxford City, I should like to express my personal distress at what has happened.