HC Deb 05 June 1888 vol 326 cc1169-70
MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Metropolitan Board of Works, at their sitting on Friday last, voted the sum of £440 out of the rates for the payment of counsel's fees on the present Board of Works inquiry; and, whether, as the Act upon which the Board rely as their authority for this charge upon the public was "prepared and brought in by the Home Secretary," he is able to state whether or not it was the intention of the Government to give the Board this power?


Yes, Sir; I have observed that such a sum was voted by the Board to pay for counsel's fees. The Government had no expressed intention of giving the Board the power of paying counsel's fees out of the rates, or they would have inserted a clause to that effect in the Act. They thought it, however, impossible to withhold from the Board, against whom grave charges were made, the right of appearing by counsel before the Commissioners; and they accordingly inserted in the Act a clause to that effect, leaving it to a Court of Law to determine, in the event of dispute, whether that clause carried with it a right to pay counsel's fees.


asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether the Treasury Auditor, when auditing the Accounts of the Metropolitan Board of Works, will allow, or will be justified in allowing, the cost of counsel employed before the Board of Works Inquiry Commission to be charged upon London rates?


, in reply, said, he thought the hon. Member would see, on reflection, that he could not answer his Question. Nor did he think it would be proper for him to inquire from the Auditor what course of action he might take with regard to certain accounts which were not yet before him.