HC Deb 23 March 1888 vol 324 cc189-90

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether there is now any objection of a public character to laying upon the Table of the House a Copy of such Directions as may have been made from time to time by the Lord High Treasurer or Commissioners of the Treasury, in conformity with the provisions of 1 Vict. c. 2, s. 9, with reference to any savings or surplus on any of the Classes of the Civil List, that at the end of each year it shall be lawful for the Lord High Treasurer or Commissioners of the Treasury for the time being, or any three or more of them, to direct the same to be applied in aid of the charges or expenses of any other Class (except the Fifth Class), or of any charge or charges upon Her Majesty's Civil List Revenues, in such manner as may, under the circumstances, appear to be most expedient?

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

I can hold out no hope of laying upon the Table any directions issued by the Treasury in regard to the savings on the Civil List. The arrangement between the Crown and Parliament is that the Civil List is only brought under the review of the House—(1) when there has been an excess on the expenditure; (2) on the demise of the Sovereign; or (3) when an application is made for a provision in excess of the amount fixed. None of these circumstances at present exist, and the question is not, therefore, one with which the House can deal. I would remind the hon. Member that on the 19th of March, 1872, a similar question was brought before the House by Sir Charles Dilke. The Return was refused by the Government of the day, and after debate the view of the Government was supported by an overwhelming majority. The 1 Vict. c. 2, s. 9, is to the effect that the Treasury may direct savings in any Class of the Civil List to be applied at the end of the year in aid of any other Classes (except the Fifth Class, Pensions), or of any charge on Civil List Revenues, in such manner as may, under the circumstances, be most expedient.


asked whether the refusal of the House was not due rather to a speech made just before by Sir Charles Dilke at Newcastle?


It may be so; but I have no information on the matter.