HC Deb 03 June 1897 vol 50 cc184-5

On behalf of the hon. Member for Exeter (Sir STAFFORD NORTHCOTE), I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if, considering the increased amount of work that has devolved of late years upon the Board of Trade Department, Her Majesty's Government will take into consideration the advisability of assimilating the position of the Minister at the head of that Department with that of one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State?


was understood to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, instead of confining himself strictly to the terms of the Question, he would also consider the alternative plan of rearranging the work of the Departments?


The Government recognise that the progress of legislation has made a change both in the absolute and ill the relative amount of work done by the different offices, and possibly, also, in the importance of the work done by them. We feel, however, that it would be impossible to consider one office in isolation to the other offices, and that, probably, when the question comes to be considered, the point raised by the right hen. Baronet opposite ought not to be lost sight of. But while we admit all these facts, we do not think that the question is at present ripe for any exhaustive inquiry or for any great changes.