MR. FORTESCUE HARRISON
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If his attention has been called to an article headed "The Government and the Telegraph Companies," which appeared in "Capital and Labour" on the 9th instant, in which it is stated that a memorial has been sent to the Lords of the Treasury containing grave charges against certain persons therein named in connection with the acquisition by the Government of the United Kingdom Electric Telegraph Company in 1869, and asserting, amongst other things, that by the award made in that transaction the revenues of the country were defrauded to the extent of over £400,000; and, whether it is true that a memorial of this nature has been received by the Lords of the Treasury; and, if so, whether he will lay a Copy of it upon the Table of the House, together with the reply of the Government thereto?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
A Memorial has been submitted to the Treasury, asserting that the Government has been defrauded of more than £400,000 in respect of the award for the acquisition of the United Kingdom Electric Telegraph Company, and they have also received a sworn declaration denying the truth of the allegation. A considerable part of the subject-matter of the Memorial does not concern the Government; but I have caused an investigation to be made into that portion which does concern the Government, and there will be no objection to laying on the Table the Report I have received on that part of the subject. I think it would be objectionable to make 698 Parliament the vehicle for publishing statements that do not concern the Government.