HC Deb 27 June 1899 vol 73 cc773-4

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Horne Department whether Mr. Chester Jones, as Home Office Commissioner for the division of the borough of West Ham into wards, is now holding any kind of inquiry at the office of a local private solicitor in West Ham; and whether he will explain to the House the circumstances tinder which steps towards the division of the borough into new wards are being taken through a private solicitor rather than through the municipality.


The facts of the case are shortly as follows. On the 21st of July, 1898, the Privy Council Office forwarded to the Home Office an Order in Council altering the number of wards in West Ham. It thereupon became my duty to appoint a Commissioner to prepare a scheme to determine the boundaries of the wards and apportion the councillors among them. This was done; and later in the year, at the request of the Town Council, I authorised the Commissioner to postpone action till after the Council election in November. The new Council were opposed to any alteration of the wards, and petitioned the Privy Council to take no further steps in the matter. The Commissioner was directed to hold his hand still further, pending the decision on the Town Council's petition. The matter was carefully considered, and the Privy Council and, the Home Office concurred in the inexpediency of reversing the Order in Council. It was therefore necessary that the inquiry by the Commissioner should proceed. The Town Council repeatedly refused to afford the Commissioner the usual facilities, and he was obliged to find his own means of executing his duty. For this purpose he hired a room which was placed at his disposal by a solicitor, unconnected with the matter in dispute, and has used it after full notice to all concerned for the purpose of making such inquiries as are necessary.