§ MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W.K., Holmfirth)
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether his attention has been directed to a speech delivered at Preston by the Rev. G. Steele, Her Majesty's Inspector for that district, to members of the Church of England, and reported in the Lancashire Evening Post of 22nd February, in which the following passages occur:—If they had a School Board he did not see how or in what manner it would be likely to help them any more than the methods they had already. … He asked why should not the Church, Roman Catholic, and Wesleyan and other denominational schools .… agitate for, or claim a share of, support from the public rates, just as Board Schools did;'and whether the speech in question is one which is sanctioned by the regulations of the Department, which direct Her Majesty's Inspectors not to take sides in the denominational and political controversies of their district?
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE,) Kent, Dartford
The highly condensed report of Mr. Steele's speech from which the words in the question are taken gives, I am told, an erroneous impression of what was really said, and Mr. Steele informs me that his recommendation to denominational bodies to agitate for a share of the rates was withdrawn as soon as made; but I cannot help thinking that, as a public officer who might be called upon to advise the Department concerning the very question which he was engaged in discussing, he committed a grave indiscretion, to which his attention must be called.
§ MR. SUMMERS (Huddersfield)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say what are the regulations of the Department?
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
They are clear enough, providing that an Inspector shall not take such a course as appears in this case to have been taken.