HC Deb 16 March 1880 vol 251 cc1093-4

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he is aware that large operations took place on the Stock Exchange in Metropolitan Water Company Shares in anticipation of the scheme presented to Parliament; whether he has any reason to believe that the details of that measure were communicated to persons outside the Home Office before it was made public; if so, if he has caused any inquiry to be made to ascertain the parties guilty of such disclosures; and, whether it is to be taken that the present scheme has been finally abandoned?


Sir, I have no means of information as to the first Question other than that in the possession of the hon. Member. If I had reason to suspect that any information had been given as to the details of the measure by any official I would readily join with the hon. Member in censuring the guilty parties. But I have no reason for any such suspicion. I took such precautions in the matter as to render any such information being given from any official in the Home Office absolutely impossible; and I hold in my hand letters from both the professional gentlemen engaged assuring me that nothing could have escaped from their respective offices. I know that the vestries have met and considered the subject; but I have not yet received from them the Memorial which I understand I shall shortly receive, praying that this matter may be carefully investigated. If time had allowed this Session I should have been able to show clearly what advantages the ratepayers would have received under the Bill; but I must again remark that the final decision must have rested with the Committee of the House, after hearing everything that the ratepayers had to say. The whole matter, however, must stand over till another Parliament. If we should find ourselves in our present position, we should certainly feel it our duty to deal with what we must consider a great question—the procuring of a sufficient supply of pure water to the Metropolis, and we shall hope to put before Parliament such a scheme, and in such a manner, as will secure the confidence of all interests concerned.