HC Deb 02 March 1885 vol 294 cc1758-9

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he can state how The Freeman's Journal obtained a Copy of the Report of the Commissioners on the Queen's Colleges (Ireland) before it was laid upon the Table of the House, and what steps have been taken to prevent the recurrence of such a breach of the Orders of the House; and, when the Report will be delivered to Members?


I am glad to be able to say that the premature publication of part of this Report was in no way due to any fault of the Queen's Printer. It appears that one of the Commissioners allowed his copy of the Report to be read by a member of the Press after the Report had been presented to the Lord Lieutenant, being under the impression that the obligation of secrecy, which up to that time he had carefully observed, was then no longer in force He now greatly regrets his action in so doing. He had no intention whatever of doing anything improper or unusual, or of acting discourteously either to his Excellency, to whom the Report was addressed, or to the Members of the two Houses of Parliament, who certainly are the first entitled to be informed of the contents of such a document when it has been decided to publish it. The Report in question is rather voluminous, but I hope it will be distributed very shortly.


Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that the memory of this member of the Press was such that, after reading a Report extending over several columns, he could reproduce it word for word in his newspaper?


No, Sir; I did not imply anything of the sort.