ALDERMAN SIR JAMES LAWRENCE
asked the President of the Board of Trade, If his attention has been called to a public announcement by the Secretary of the Phoenix Gas Company, that the directors have undertaken the responsibilities of the South London Gas Bill in deference to the opinions of the Board of Trade; and, if the Board of Trade have been made aware of the terms and conditions of the proposed amalgamation of the two Gas Companies, by which the price of gas is to be advanced to all consumers in the South Metropolitan District?
MR CHICHESTER PORTESCUE
Sir, my attention has been called to a certain printed document containing the statement in question, and I have to say that it is a mere error, and is absolutely without foundation, however it may have found its way into the document. There was, in the course of last summer, certain correspondence between the Phoenix Company and the Board of Trade, in the course of which the latter expressed an opinion in favour of the extension of the principle of amalgamation as applied to the Metropolitan Gas Companies; but the Board knew nothing of the Bill until it was before the House; and as soon as the statement in question was brought under my knowledge, communications were addressed to the Metropolitan Board of Works and to the Camber-well Vestry, entirely repudiating all responsibility on the part of the Board of Trade for the Bill.