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"King Edward Vii 'S" Defective Rudder

Volume 178: debated on Wednesday 24 July 1907

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I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether in view of the public interest in the matter, he will publish a Report giving all the facts and correspondence connected with the fraud committed by the Ayrshire Foundry Company on the Admiralty, who the responsible persons were, with their names and addresses, and the reasons why they were not prosecuted.

All the information in the possession of the Admiralty was placed at the disposal of the Public Accounts Committee by an official fully conversant with the facts. This evidence will be published in the usual course.

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the defective rudder, fraudulently supplied by the Ayrshire Foundry Company had been built into the battleship "King Edward VII." at the time they were informed by the works manager of the Ayrshire Foundry Company of the fact that it was defective; and, if so, what was the extra cost involved to the public in ripping it out and replacing it with a good one.

The Answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, the only cost to the Crown ultimately involved in replacing the first rudder with a good one, including the cost of the latter, was £48 4s. 8d.

suggested that the hon. Member should await the publication of the evidence by the Public Accounts Committee.

asked whether this matter had not been investigated by the law officers of the Crown under the late Government.

That is so, and they came to the conclusion that no prosecution could be instituted.

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty what steps the latter have taken to prevent defective castings supplied by Admiralty contractors being electrically welded on Sundays or holidays as was criminally done in the case of the rudder supplied by the Ayrshire Foundry Company to H.M.S. "King Edward VII."; whether the Admiralty have on their inspecting staff for the passing of contract-supplied castings any practical moulders; and, if not, will he explain why.

The serious attention of the Admiralty inspectors has been called to the possibility of electrically welding defective castings, and conditions are inserted in all present contracts which will prevent the repetition of such practices. As regards the second and third parts of the Question, I must refer the hon. Member to the full replies which I gave to similar Questions yesterday.†