HC Deb 10 December 1888 vol 331 cc1577-8
MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether his attention has been drawn to The Halifax Times of the 4th of October, 1888, containing a report of the proceedings of the Halifax Town Council, and to the charges then made in writing against certain gentlemen connected with the Town Council, namely— That they had been guilty of fraud and malpractices in connection with the Halifax Gasworks, and to the Resolution of the Council excluding one of these gentlemen from all Committees of the Council in consequence of such charges; and whether he will take proceedings to have an official inquiry into the allegations which have been made?

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

Prior to the Notice of the Question of the hon. Member, my attention had not been called to the matter to which he refers. As regards the suggestion that the Local Government Board should direct an official inquiry, I can only say that the Board have no powers under which they could institute an inquiry into the conduct of particular members of a Town Council or their officers; and, assuming that there were such powers, I think, as a general rule, it would be inexpedient for the Board to undertake inquiries into charges of fraud. The hon. Member is probably aware that one of the persons alleged to be implicated is to be tried at the present Leeds Assizes.