asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to one of the findings of the court of inquiry which has been investigating the circumstances attending the recent loss of the yacht "Islander" to the effect that a more comprehensive inquiry should be made into the whole coastguard system; and whether he will set up such a committee of inquiry, with terms of reference empowering it to consider the advisability of the return of the coastguard service to Admiralty control?
The most careful consideration will be given by the Government to the report of the inquiry in this case. I need hardly say that the Government will welcome the fullest inquiry into the coastguard service but I cannot yet say what form the inquiry will take. Perhaps the House will allow me to add a note of our universal regret that this disaster involved the loss of the life of one of our most respected colleagues in this House.
If I put down a question in a week's time, will the right hon. Gentleman be in a position then to say whether a committee will or will not be set up to inquire into the question of the coastguard service?
An inquiry will be undertaken, but perhaps the hon. and gallant Member would defer his question a little longer. There are important points to be decided in determining the precise form of the inquiry and I am afraid I should require rather more than a week.
Will a statement be made by the right hon. Gentleman at some time as to conclusions on the findings already made by the court in reference to that disaster?
I could not pledge myself to that this afternoon, because I have only just received, officially, the findings of the court, but I could give hon. Members any information regarding our views on that report when the time comes.