HC Deb 16 August 1895 vol 36 cc175-6

I wish to ask the Chief Secretary, in regard to his important announcement yesterday, whether he is correctly reported in The Times of to-day as having said that the letter had been published which he received from Mr. Justice Bewley, and the contents of which the right hon. Gentleman stated thus:— Mr. Justice Bewley believes that if the provisions of the Land Bill were such as to affect the decisions in connection with those applications (to refix judicial rents) it would be easy and proper for the Land Commission to instruct Sub-Commissioners to defer judgment until the Bill was passed; and, of course, any such Bill would contain a clause applying the provisions to pending cases. Then, Sir, there are some interrogatories by myself, asking whether the Chief Secretary will lay his letter on the table of the House; and the right hon. Gentleman is reported to have said:— I can assure the hon. Member that I have very accurately given the purport of the letter. The letter was actually published, and I do not think the hon. Member can gather very much more from it than I have stated, Is the right hon. Gentleman correctly reported as having said that the letter has been published?


No, Sir. That is, I think, an error of the reporter. What I said, or intended to say, was that if the letter were published the hon. and learned Gentleman could not gather very much more from it than what I stated to the House.


Will the Chief Secretary advert to the action taken by the present Leader of the House, who, when he was Chief Secretary, and when a communication was made to him in 1887 to the following effect:— Considering the enormous responsibility thrown on the Court by the proposal with regard to the temporary remission of judicial rents now before Parliament, we are of opinion that some precise guidance should be given in the Act of Parliament as to the nature of the principle to be applied"— on being pressed to lay that communication from the Land Commission upon the Table of the House, said— There can be no objection to laying the letter on the Table; though, as it was read in its entirety and is very short and simple in its terms, nothing would be gained by such a course"? I thereupon gave notice that I would move for a copy of the letter of the Land Commission. And, as a matter of fact, the Motion was made, and the document was laid on the Table of the House. The reference is No. 303 of the papers of 1887.


If the hon. and learned Gentleman will kindly put the question on the paper, I will consider the matter and give him an answer on Monday.