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In this tragic explosion at Lindsay Colliery, Fifeshire, in the early hours of Saturday morning, nine men lost their lives and 11 more were injured.
I am sure that the House will wish to join with me and my colleagues in expressing the deepest sympathy with the families of those who lost their lives and with those who were injured.
H.M. Inspectors of Mines are investigating the circumstances of the explosion, and my noble Friend has directed the Chief Inspector to hold a public inquiry.
I am sure that everybody on this side of the House would wish to be associated with the Paymaster-General's expression of sympathy with the relatives of those who were killed and to the injured. May I also add a word of praise for the valiant rescue work which was performed—work too often taken for granted in these cases? I should like particularly to refer to the efforts of Mr. David Scott, who sacrificed his own life in an attempt to save others.
May I ask the Paymaster-General whether any complaints have been received during the last twelve months about the ventilation of this pit, and, if so, what remedial actions had been taken by the management?
I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he has said about the rescue work, with which I am sure, the whole House will agree.
In reply to his second point, I think that it would be wrong for me to say anything in this House now, as a public inquiry is to take place.
I think it would be wiser if I said that I will make sure that the inquiry took note of both the points which have been raised by the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend.