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Coal Mines (Nationalisation).

Part of Orders of the Day — King's Speech. – in the House of Commons on 11th February 1920.

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What is the suggestion? Listening to the ironical cheers of right hon. and hon. Members opposite, would I be unfair in assuming that they think there is no pledge? If it is a question of "It does not matter when a Minister of the Crown gives an undertaking to this House," then, indeed, politics in this House has reached a stage lower than ever before in the history of this country. If the suggestion is that it is the Government which is to be the determining tribunal, then I venture to submit that that was not the impression left upon my colleagues and myself and other Members of the House. What was the Commission? The Commission was not of our seeking; we never asked the Government to appoint it. The Commission was created by the Government itself to investigate a very grave problem, and when we had reached a stage after the first Report we were not at all inclined as a Labour party to accept a continuance of the work of the Commission. It was to induce the Labour party in particular, and this House in general, to agree to a continuation of the work of the Commission that the Home Secretary was put up to declare that the proper thing was to have an inquiry by experts and to have a decision by an efficient tribunal. Is there any suggestion that it was not intended to convince this House that the tribunal was not the Government, but the Coal Industry Commission?