§ MR. FIRTH
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasurer, whether, having regard to the fact that in 1871 this House declined to sanction the purchase of a site for the Mint on the Thames Embankment at an estimated cost of £80,000, the Government still propose to facilitate the passing of the City Lands (Thames Embankment) Bill, the chief object of which is to acquire a site in the same place for £254,475; and, whether, having regard to the fact that when the present negotiations for purchase were initiated a pledge was given to the House that no binding step in such purchase should be taken without an opportunity being afforded for the fullest Parliamentary discussion, Her Majesty's Government can afford such opportunity at this period of the Session?
§ LORD FREDERICK CAVENDISH
In reply to the Question of my hon. Friend, I have to state, as I have already done, that the Government felt' itself bound by the acts of its Predecessors to facilitate, as far as possible, the passing of the City Lands Bill, as it was upon their suggestion that the value of the proposed site for a new Mint upon the Thames Embankment, along with that of the old Bankruptcy Court in Basing-hall Street, was submitted to arbitration. The Bill simply authorizes the sale and acquisition of the site, and in no way commits Parliament to its purchase. It would, of course, be impossible at the end of the Session to afford a proper opportunity for the full discussion which should take place before Parliament sanctions the purchase of the proposed site; and therefore, as I stated on a previous occasion, the Government at once determined not to ask during the present Session for a Vote of the sum that would be required to effect the purchase. I see, however, that the Bill appears on the list of Public Bills this morning as having been dropped; and although I am informed that it is intended to place it upon the Paper again, I can conceive of no useful purpose that would be answered by doing so now.