HC Deb 24 May 1867 vol 187 cc1092-3

said, he rose to call attention to the official doctrine lately put forward that any part of the Estimates is withdrawn from the cognizance and regulation of the House. The Committee of the House, appointed nineteen years ago to inquire into the salary and duties of the Librarian, reported that that officer was in receipt of £800 per annum. As a vacancy had recently occurred, this was a fitting occasion to make inquiries on the subject. It had been recently stated in the House that the matter rested with certain high officials, and that consequently it did not come under the cognizance of the Treasury. He considered it the duty of the House to examine every portion of the Estimates. When he asked for information as to the salary of the Librarian and others connected with the House, he was told by the Secretary of the Treasury that he had nothing to do with the subject. Such a course, he thought, was opposed to the rights and privileges of the House. He hoped and expected that in future a responsible official would be answerable to that House with respect to the salary of the Librarian.


said, that the answer which he made the other night was perfectly correct with reference to this subject, of which, at that time, he possessed no official knowledge whatever. His hon. Friend showed some confusion of ideas when he connected the knowledge of the Secretary to the Treasury concerning the matter with the cognizance of that House. The hon. Member, however, could not say that the question of the Library was not submitted to the House, for it was on the occasion of the Vote for the Library being passed that he gave the reply which had been referred to by the hon. Gentleman. Generally speaking, changes in the Civil Service came before him officially. But the Speaker of the House, assisted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary, were in the habit of making arrangements as to the Librarian. These arrangements were in due course communicated to him, and he inserted the necessary items in the Estimates. The change which had taken place this year was effected after the Estimates had been prepared, but he believed it had been sanctioned and recognised by the House.

Motion, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," agreed to.