§ MR. W. C. STEADMAN (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he would explain why, after he had appointed a time to meet a deputation of the textile workers on the Currency question, he refused to receive such deputation, and allowed them to arrive at his office before informing them of his refusal?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
This was a deputation from trades unions in Yorkshire and Lancashire on the subject of bimetallism. A few minutes before the hour named for the interview I received a copy of a document which had been circulated by the members of the deputation, in which it was stated that with regard to the subject they desired to bring before me the Government had—broken their solemn pledges to the country, treated with contempt the interests and demands of industry, and disgraced this country in the eyes of the world by showing that no Foreign Powers can depend upon the pledged words of a British Ministry.1647 In my opinion, this statement is absolutely baseless. But it is certainly expressed in distinctly offensive language; and though, of course, anyone is free to believe it, and to express it in any language he likes, he is not free to do so in my room as a member of a deputation, and, as I assumed that the deputation would say to me what they had said elsewhere, I declined to receive them. I should readily have spared them the trouble of coming to the Treasury, only I did not receive the document until just before the hour named for the deputation.