§ MR. C. DODD (Essex, Maldon)
In the absence of the hon. Member for the North Lonsdale Division of North Lancashire, I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether complaints have reached him from agriculturists as to the constitution and procedure of the Royal Commission on Agriculture; and whether he can see his way to meet the wishes of those interested by recommending that the sittings of the Commission be thrown open to the public and the Press?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I believe the First Commissioner of Works yesterday detailed what had been decided by the Commission in the matter. I do not think that in a case of this kind the Government ought, under any circumstances, to attempt any authoritative interference with the discretion of the Commission. A Royal Commission is a serious affair which ought to carry great weight, and if it is to do so it must possess a considerable degree of independence. Therefore, even if I differ from the views of the Commission, and I do not say that I do so, I think it would be a serious matter to interfere with their discretion.