§ LORD HENRY BRUCE (Wilts, Chippenham)
asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether he is aware that the moneys of the rate-payers are being applied to the defence of the Metropolitan Board of Works before the Royal Commission; if so, whether those ratepayers, who are seeking to substantiate the very grave charges which they have felt it their duty to make against that Body, will not have the same privilege?
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.) (who replied) said
There is no precedent, so far as I am aware, for allowing the expenses of counsel appearing before a Royal Commission out of public funds. The legitimate expenses of witnesses called by the ratepayers will be defrayed by the Treasury out of moneys provided by Parliament. I am not aware that the Board of Works propose to pay their counsel out of the rates. If they do so, they must justify that expenditure under some statutory power.