HC Deb 26 February 1885 vol 294 cc1397-8

had given Notice of the following Question:— To ask the First Lord of the Treasury, If his attention has been drawn to a Letter, dated 13th February, purporting to have been addressed from the Local Government Board by the honourable Member for Aylesbury, the Secretary of that Board, to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, requesting them to make a grant of land to the inhabitants of Fulham (for which district that honourable Member had announced his candidature), and to the fact that this Letter was published in all the evening papers as an official Letter, without waiting for an answer from the Commissioners; and, whether he gave any sanction to this proceeding?


At the request of the Prime Minister, I will, by leave of the House, make a brief personal explanation with reference to the Question which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Londonderry. The Prime Minister knew nothing about the circumstances of this Question till his attention was called to them by the Question. On the morning on which Earl Stanhope's letter from the Ecclesiastical Commission appeared in the daily papers, I received a visit from a gentleman resident in West Kensington, who had taken a prominent part last year in regard to this piece of ground. This gentleman knew that during Office hours I was sure to be found at my desk; and, therefore, he called upon me at the Local Government Board. He drew my attention to Earl Stanhope's letter, and asked whether I could do anything to extend the boon to West Kensington. I immediately wrote the letter to which the hon. Member's Question refers. I admit that it would have been better if I had struck out the words "Local Government Board" at the head of the letter, and written instead my private address, 18, Wilton Street; but I omitted to do so through inadvertence. I can assure the hon. Member that, in all further Correspondence on this subject, I will take care that what he wishes to be done shall be done.