§ MR. BRADLAUGH
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has been informed that the outdoor Customs officers (some 60 in number) stationed at Gravesend, where all ships entering the Thames are first boarded for Customs examination, desired to make a special representation to him in connection with the inquiry which he is now conducting into Customs administration; and whether two outdoor officers deputed to make the representation were, upon the circumstance becoming known to the Board of Customs, removed from the Gravesend Station?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)
The hon. Member's question is founded on a misconception. Two outdoor officers at Gravesend who desired to make a special representation have since been selected for short periods of special duty at Dover and Deal. Selection for special duty is a distinction, involving as it does subsistence allowance, and is very far from being regarded as a punishment. It is considerably sought after, and one of the officers in question had actually applied for it immediately before he had been selected. One has returned already. The selection, therefore, of these officers was not penal, and was in no way connected with the representation they made, nor will any officer, as I stated when I promised the inquiry, suffer for tendering evidence.