§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will undertake that no matches containing yellow phosphorus shall be used by any public department, and that any contract with Messrs. Bryant and May or other firm fox the supply of such matches shall be forthwith terminated?
MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
I beg at the same time to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether the matches in use in the House of Commons are supplied by Messrs. Bryant and May; and, if so, whether, in view of the recent revelations showing that this firm were convicted of a breach of the Factory Act by which certain of their employees were poisoned, he win see that matches made by some other British or Irish manufacturer are used in the House of Commons instead of Bryant and May's?
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. AKERS-DOUGLAS,) Kent, St. Augustine's
Perhaps I may be allowed to answer at the same time the Question addressed to my right honourable Friend and the Question standing in the name of the honourable Member for Kilkenny. No matches containing yellow phosphorus are provided under the contact made by my Office for the Houses of Parliament and various Departments which is held by Messrs. Bryant and May. The only contract with that firm is for safety matches which are guaranteed to contain none of this chemical, and which are, I am assured, non-poisonous and harmless to those employed in their manufacture I understand that the recent conviction obtained against Messrs. Bryant and May was in respect of the manufacture of a cheaper (or strike-anywhere) match, which matches are not included in the contract. I am, however, making inquiry into the subject, and am actuated by the same motives as the honourable Member for Aberdeenshire, and will take care that in asking for tenders in connection with any future contract stipulations as to non-poisonous matches are inserted.
MR. P. O'BRIEN
Is the right honourable Gentleman aware that there are now in Belfast firms making matches who do not sweat their employees, nor 41 poison them? Will lie give them tin contract?