The present appointments of the Chairman and of the full-time members of the National Coal Board will expire on 15th July.
When Lord Hyndley accepted the post as Chairman, in 1946, he made it clear to my predecessor that he could not promise to serve the full period for which the appointment was made. It has been only at the earnest request of the Government, and from a great sense of public duty, that he has carried the heavy burden of the Chairmanship for the full term. He now retires, after many years of outstanding and devoted service to successive Governments, to the coal industry and to the nation. To him, and to the other members of the Board, I wish to express the thanks and appreciation of the Government for the great public service they have rendered in the immense task of organising and directing the affairs of the coal industry during the first five years of nationalisation.
Following Lord Hyndley's retirement, and in view of the change in the character of the Board that was explained to the House during the debates on the Amending Act of 1949, the Board will now be reconstituted as follows:
We should wish for an opportunity of discussing these appointments, with the latest Report of the Coal Board. It will be within the recollection of the right hon. Gentleman that the former Leader of the House promised a day so that an opportunity could be given to the House to discuss the Coal Board's affairs, and I very much hope that it will be provided in the present Session, because the coal industry is still in most ways the most vital one of this country. I want, as one who has been very critical of Lord Hyndley, to say that I wish him all good fortune in his retirement. I wonder, on considering this list of appointments, whether Sir Eric Coates has been appointed to wind up the Coal Board as he was appointed to wind up the groundnut affairs. That is all the more reason why the Minister, in consultation with the Leader of the House, should give us an opportunity to discuss these matters, and I hope he will do so as soon as possible.