§ MR. MOSS (Denbighshire, E.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that, on the 19th of April last, the firm of Messrs. R. P. Houston and Co. informed their customers that the Admiralty were inviting tenders of steamers suitable for colliers for twelve✶ See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxix., page 1111.728 months service, and that the firm were constantly in touch with and had a representative in daily attendance at the Transport Department of the Admiralty, and further that the said firm invited their customers to tender through them; whether the firm of R. P. Houston and Co. are in constant touch with the Transport Department of the Admiralty, and have a representative in daily attendance; and whether, inasmuch as the hon. Member for the West Toxteth Division of Liverpool is a member of the firm of R. P. Houston and Co., their conduct is in accordance with the provisions of 22 Geo. III., cap. 45.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. MACARTNEY, Antrim, S.)
The Admiralty was not aware of the action referred to until the circular dated 19th April was sent to the First Lord by the hon. Member. In common with other firms, Messrs. R. P. Houston and Co. are in the habit of sending a representative very frequently to inquire as to the wants of the Transport Department, but no special facilities or advantages are accorded to them, and so far as this is suggested in the circular, it is incorrect and. misleading. The firm of R. P. Houston and Co. act as managers of the British and South American Steam Navigation Company, Limited, from which company two transports and a number of freight ships for mules have been taken up. So far as the Admiralty is aware, Messrs. R. P. Houston and Co. have not contravened the provisions of the statute referred to.