asked the Minister of Supply whether he can give any information in connection with the case made against Thomas Ridlington, managing director of Ridlington, Geddes and Company, Limited, and others, for having supplied collieries with pit-props half an inch smaller in diameter than the size they professed to deliver; and whether he has seen the statement made by Mr. Cartwright Sharp, K.C., prosecuting for the Crown?
Ridlington, Geddes and Company, Limited, were fined £10,000 for selling pit props at excessive prices in contravention of the Timber (Control) Orders. The managing director, H. T. Ridlington, was found guilty of obtaining money by false pretences and sentenced to 20 months' imprisonment and ordered to pay £860, the costs of the prosecution. The proceedings were instituted as a result of investigations by the Ministry of Supply.
Is the Minister satisfied with the arrangements revealed in this case, in which these people acted as agents for the Forestry Commission, in view of the fact that the Forestry Commission are a Government body and have a representative in this House? Why cannot they make their own arrangements with the Ministry of Supply? Will the light hon. Gentleman go into that matter?