§ MR. COBB (Warwick, S.E., Rugby)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that, when recently at the War- 592 wickshire Standing Joint Committee an amendment was carried rescinding the previous action of the Committee in refusing a pension to Mr. Kinchant, the late Chief Constable, the motion as amended was not put as a substantive motion in accordance with the 23rd Standing Order of the committee; whether he is aware that about one-half of the members of the committee were absent in consequence of no special notice having been given that the question would come on for decision; whether he is aware that in the steps which the committee took as to refusing the pension they acted upon the advice given to them by the Secretary of State last year, and that the opinion of Mr. Dickens, Q.C., confirmed the legality of such steps, and advised that the pension should be paid, not upon legal, but upon general grounds, which it was the province of the committee, and not of counsel, to decide; and whether, if the committee should ask for his opinion, he would again advise them as to the course which, under the circumstances, should now be taken, before any further payment is made to Mr. Kinchant?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I understand that the proceedings of the Warwickshire Standing Joint Committee (rescinding the previous action of the committee in refusing a pension to Mr. Kinchant, the late Chief Constable) were in camera. I am, therefore, not in a position to say what the proceedings were, or whether they were in any respect informal. If there was informality, it is, of course, open to those dissatisfied to take steps to rectify it. Out of a total of 40 constituting the committee 28 attended. The summons to the meeting, sent out several days beforehand, stated that the Police Committee would make a report, and was, in fact, accompanied by a print of such report, and in the report was contained a distinct intimation that the subject of the late Chief Constable's pension would come before the meeting. The opinion of Mr. Dickens that the pension should be paid seems to have been founded upon his view that this was both the just and the legal course. My own view on the matter would not be binding on the committee, but if they desire to have it I shall not be unwilling to express it at their request.