HC Deb 23 May 1879 vol 246 c1139

asked the Secretary of State for War, When he proposes to lay upon the Table of the House, Copies of Lord Chelmsford's Despatches of the 8th, 12th, 14th, and 28th of February, the 2nd, 20th, and 25th of March, and of the 5th (from Colonel Bellairs), 10th, and 14th April 1879; and, whether, in future, by laying upon the Table of the House on the day they are published, pro formâ, Copies of the "London Gazette" containing Despatches from the seat of war, he could arrange that Members might receive such supplements on the following morning as a Parliamentary paper delivered from the Vote Office?


Sir, the despatches referred to have all received the widest possible circulation through the morning papers on the morning following their publication in The Gazette, but they can be included in Correspondence about to be given. With regard to laying upon the Table of the House, pro formâ, copies of The Gazette on the day on which they are published, the objections would appear to be—1, that we should incur extra cost, amounting to £10 to £20 each issue; 2, that we should add little or nothing to the publication of the news; 3, that either the same Papers would have to be printed twice over under different Parliamentary numbers, or else gaps would have to be left in Blue Books which would, otherwise, contain a complete and connected narrative. I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that, unless there is a more general feeling than I am at present aware in favour of such a proposal, it would be unnecessary to alter the existing practice.


said, it was only by the despatches being laid on the Table that Parliament could have any official knowledge of them.