asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give the names of the gentlemen appointed by him to consider applications under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act for the imposition of duty on imported goods; and can he at the same time state what professions, businesses, or organisations these gentlemen are connected with?
I am having printed in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the members of the Permanent Panel appointed under Section 7 of the Act, from which Committees of five are selected from time to time to hold inquiries under Part II of the Act. Of the 45 members of the panel 33 are persons of commercial or industrial experience, while the remainder are specially fitted for this kind of work by their legal, economic, or administrative qualifications. All the members are appointed on their personal qualifications, and not as representing any particular interest, and I think it might be misleading to publish officially a list purporting to label them as connected with particular professions, businesses, or organisations.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman see that this means instability? If the result of these inquiries is to convince people whose businesses are being inquired into, they ought to know that they are not being exploited by people in the same business.
PANEL UNDER PART II OF THE SAFE-GUARDING OF INDUSTRIES ACT.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Reports of the committees appointed by him under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act will be published; whether he can state if, in the event of a disagreement, the Report of the majority will be accepted; and whether, if the evidence is only heard by two or three Members of the panel, the absent Members are entitled to vote on evidence which they have not heard?
It is proposed to present the Reports to Parliament, and to publish them in the ordinary course. With regard to the second part of the question, it will be the duty of the Board of Trade to consider the Reports, and due weight will of course be attached to any disagreement. With regard to the last part, I would remind the hon. Member that shorthand notes are taken of the evidence heard before Committees, and Members who have been absent from any meeting or meetings are able to make themselves fully acquainted with the evidence at those meetings by means of the written transcript.