HC Deb 25 June 1964 vol 697 cc110-1W
Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why fifteen of the leading scientists are leaving the extractions of metals group of the National Chemical Laboratory; why Dr. John Mitchell, the Laboratory Director resigned; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Hogg

The decision to transfer 40 staff of all grades employed on work on the extraction of metals, from the National Chemical Laboratory to the Warren Spring Laboratory, both of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, followed from the Government's acceptance of a recommendation in the Report of the Committee on Technical Assistance for Overseas Geology and Mining under the chairmanship of Sir Frederick Brundrett. Of these 40, three junior members resigned before the announcement of the decision and one rather more senior has resigned since: eight have asked for transfer elsewhere. The Director of the N.C.L., Dr. John Mitchell, gave the Department no reason for his resignation, but it is understood that he disagreed with the decision to implement this recommendation of the Brundrett Committee. Whilst I greatly regret his decision I am satisfied that the national interest will best be served by arranging as the Brundrett Committee recommend for the work on extraction of metals hitherto carried out at the National Chemical Laboratory and that on mineral processing at the Warren Spring Laboratory to be integrated under the same research direction.