HC Deb 05 June 1899 vol 72 cc303-4
SIR CHARLES CAMERON (Glasgow, Bridgeton)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether any change has been made in the arrangements for printing the official Parliamentary Debates; and when Members may expect their reports to be issued with reasonable promptitude.

MR. R. G. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, East)

I would like at the same time to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the cause of the delay in the publication of the Reports of the Parliamentary Debates of this Session is the fact that the reporters of the Parliamentary corps are largely in arrears of salary; and if any fresh arrangements are now being made to carry the work out in a businesslike manner.


I will answer these questions together. I learned on the day on which the House rose before -Whitsuntide of the disputed arrears of payment to reporters—which, it appeared, had contributed to the delay in issuing the reports. In consequence of this delay I gave instructions to the Controller of the Stationery Office to cancel at once the existing contract if any report was still in arrear on Wednesday last, the day the House reassembled; to make arrangements for a new contract; and to warn the existing contractor accordingly. A new contract commenced on Wednesday last, on the same conditions in all respects as that which had been cancelled. The conditions, as I have satisfied myself, are such as to allow a reasonable profit to the contractor. The reports for days between April 30 and May 5 are in the hands of the late contractor, and all that is possible has been done by the Stationery Office to hasten their publication. His sureties have been informed of their liability for the consequences of the delay. The reports of the 5th and up to the 19th May will be published at once by the new contractors, Messrs. Wyman, who have already large printing contracts. As regards all other reports sub- sequent to that of May 19th the new contractor will be required to carry out all the provisions of the contract strictly and punctually.

MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

May I ask, in connection with that answer, whether the proofs of reports taken between May 5 and May 19 will be at once forwarded to Members, if that has not been done already?


Oh, yes, certainly.


I should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman, taking into consideration the fact that the discussion on the report stage of the London Government Bill shortly comes on, will tell us whether we are to take The Times report as official, or, if not, what report we are so to take.

The question was not answered.