§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If the printing for this House is done by contract; if he is aware of the constant delays in the printing of Bills, Acts, and Returns, which cause so much inconvenience to Members; when the contract with Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode will expire; and, will the Treasury consider whether the next tenders should not require regard to be had to despatch and punctuality, with a penalty for unworkmanlike delays?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
The printing for this House is done under contracts, that for Bills and Acts by Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode and that for Returns by Messrs. Hansard. Messrs Eyre and Spottiswoode's contract will expire on 276 the 31st of December, 1896, unless previously terminated by 12 months' notice at any time after December 31 next. No complaint has been received at the Stationery Office of delays in the printing of Bills, Acts, or Returns; and Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode state that they are working almost every night in order to get the Bills and Acts out promptly. All Acts have to be examined by the officers of the House of Lords before Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode are at liberty to go to press. Condition 7 of the contract provides a penalty for undue delay. If a Member makes a complaint of delay to the proper officer of the House it ought to be transmitted to the Stationery Office. I acknowledge that the hon. and learned Member has complained, within the last two or three days, of the non-publication of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, and there was a former complaint with respect to the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act; but with these two exceptions there have been no complaints. It is very necessary that great care should be exercised by the proper officers of the House in correcting the proofs of Acts of Parliament, and that involves delay which cannot be avoided.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
asked to whom complaints ought to be made by Members? Not long ago it took nearly a month to have a Return printed which he had moved for.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, he was not able to say whom complaints ought to be made to; but he would make inquiries.