HC Deb 25 August 1887 vol 319 cc1823-5
MR. T. E. ELLIS (Merionethshire)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether Mr. W. J. Courthope, who has been appointed third Civil Service Commissioner at a salary of £1,200 a-year, has till now been a Junior Examiner in the Education Department; what are his special qualifications for the important post to which he has been appointed; whether any of the Commissioners have any special acquaintance with science or mathematics, in which subjects it is their duty to direct examinations; and, whether it is the case that up to the present time Mr. Courthope has been one of the editors of a Conservative periodical called The National Review; and, if so, whether he will be permitted to continue in that post?

MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

asked, whether there was any Regulation, statutory or other, which precluded Civil servants from editing any political paper?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

I have had no Notice of the last Question, and I cannot answer it. Mr. W. J. Courthope has been a junior in the Education Department. These examiners are specially selected from those who have taken high honours at the Universities, and Mr. Courthope obtained at Oxford, in 1863, a first-class in classical moderations, and in 1865 a first-class in the Final Classical Schools. He also obtained the Newdigate Prize for English verse in 1864, and the Chancellor's Prize for the English essay in 1868. These honours, and also the result of inquiries I made, were quite sufficient to satisfy me that Mr. Courthope was specially fitted for the post for which he was selected. I am not aware what special acquaintance the Civil Service Commissioners have with science and mathematics, which are only two out of many subjects in which they have to direct examinations. These examinations are conducted under the superintendence of an eminent staff of examiners, and no complaint has ever been made that the papers set in either of these subjects are of too easy a nature. If the hon. Member has any doubts on the subject the Commissioners would, I am sure, be glad to send him a few of their examination papers. Mr. Courthope resigned the joint editorship of The National Review on being informed of his appointment.


asked, whether any one of the Commissioners had taken a degree either in mathematics or science?


I really do not know; and I have already stated that these are only two of the many sub- jects in which the Commissioners have to direct examinations. It is not reasonable or desirable that they should be called upon to take a degree in every subject in which they have to direct examinations.