Mining Industry (Committee of Investigation).

Oral Answers to Questions — Industrial Unrest. – in the House of Commons on 17th February 1919.

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Mr. KENNEDY JONES:

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the miners' strike ballot, he will at once announce the constitution of the Committee of Investigation promised in the official reply to the Miners' Federation and whether he will arrange for its permanent session and the daily publication of at least a full précis of the evidence so that the public may know what are the merits of this dispute by which they may be so vitally affected?

Photo of Sir Charles Edwards Sir Charles Edwards , Bedwellty

Before the right hon. Gentleman replies may I ask, having regard to the suggestion which is being assiduously circulated in the mining districts that the Government propose this Committee for the purpose of indefinitely delaying a settlement, whether he is in a position to announce that they will have to report and make their recommendations within a definite period?

Photo of Mr Bonar Law Mr Bonar Law , Glasgow Central

My answer deals with that point. The Committee of Investigation is now being formed, and its constitution will be announced as soon as possible. The Committee will sit per- manently, and will be asked to report on the question of wages and hours of work by the 31st of March. The hon. Member's suggestion as to the means to be taken to keep the public informed of the proceedings will receive the careful consideration of the Government.

Mr. THOMAS:

Without giving the personnel, can the right hon. Gentleman say what the general lines of constitution will be, and whether it is to be employers and employed, or what trades will be represented?

Photo of Mr Bonar Law Mr Bonar Law , Glasgow Central

I do not think it would be possible for me to give anything like details, but the intention of the Government is to set up a Committee which will represent employers and employed and the general interests of the public as well.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

Can the right hon. Gentleman say if by the use of the word "permanent" he means continuous sittings to 31st March, or is this to be a permanent arrangement?

Photo of Mr Bonar Law Mr Bonar Law , Glasgow Central

I will use either word my hon. Friend desires. The intention of my answer wan that the Government will ask this Committee to sit from day to day, so far as it can, in order that there may not be any delay.

Photo of Mr George Terrell Mr George Terrell , Chippenham

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what the terms of reference to this Committee will be?

Photo of Mr Bonar Law Mr Bonar Law , Glasgow Central

No; I am sure my hon. Friend can hardly expect them to-day.

An HON. MEMBER:

Will there be any representative of Irish labour on that Committee?

Photo of Mr Bonar Law Mr Bonar Law , Glasgow Central

I hardly think labour in Ireland is directly interested in this question, but it will be considered.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

Irish labour is interested in my next question.