HC Deb 30 July 1897 vol 51 cc1608-9
MR. W. F. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to whom he had given private notice of the Question, whether his attention had been drawn to the issue by certain newspapers of what purported to be the Report of the West Indian Commission, although that Report was not yet published; whether it was known who was responsible for this unauthorised and premature publication of the views of the Commissioners; and whether, having regard to the anxiety with which the Report was waited for, he could persuade the Commissioners to issue their Report by Wednesday next?


My attention has been drawn to the statement in the papers to which the lion. Gentleman refers. I do not know, however, whether there is the slightest foundation fir the statement that that statement expresses, in part or wholly, the views which will he contained in the Report of the Commissioners; and I do not see much good in pursuing inquiry into such a matter. Nowadays the enterprise of the Press is such that every confidential document gets into the hands of the Press, sometimes before it is written—[laughter]; and although I think that it is unfortunate, I do not see how any Government can prevent it. As to the last Question, I really cannot put any pressure upon the Commissioners to hasten their Report. I know that they are well aware of the anxiety with which the Report is anticipated, and that they are doing all they can to bring it into shape at the earliest moment. but I should not like to hurry them iii any way in a matter of such great importance.