§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can explain why the boots known as Army high-lows, the contract price for which is 10s. 6d. per pair, are superior to those supplied to the Metropolitan police constables for which the contract price is 11s. 11d. per pair, this being the opinion of those who have worn each class of boots for years; whether it is a fact that the contract for the Army boots is put out for one year only, and that these boots are passed by a board, whereas the contract for police boots is put out for five years, and these boots are passed by one examiner, a practical bootmaker, whose total fee for this work amounts to only about £150 per annum, although he deals with nearly 30,000 pairs of boots involving a contract to the amount of nearly £18,000 per annum; whether he has yet considered the desirability of permitting the hon. Member for West Newington to take a copy of the contract for the supply of boots for the Metropolitan Police, or to cause a copy 29 to be taken for him; and whether there is in the contract in question a clause such as exists in most other similar contracts, enabling either of the contracting parties to terminate the contract upon certain conditions; and, if this is so, will he state the conditions?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I beg to refer my hon. Friend to my answers to a similar inquiry on July 12, and to add that the boots are of very different character from the Army high-lows, and reported to me as superior for the purpose for which they are used. The contract is for five years, and there is a clause in the contract enabling the receiver to terminate it if reasonably dissatisfied. As I have previously stated, my hon. Friend can see the contract if he wishes. I am not aware, and he does not inform me why he wants a copy of it, and until I know the purpose for which the copy is asked and is to be used I cannot give him a definite answer on this point.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
I desired to have a copy of the contract in order that I might not be put to the inconvenience of learning it by heart at the Home Office.