§ MR. BENN (Devonport)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been railed to a letter dated July 8th, 1905, from the chairman of the Finance Committee of the Holborn Borough Council, in reference to the secret commission of 33⅓ per cent. paid by Messrs. Bircham and Co., Parliamentary Agents, to Mr. H. C. Jones, late town clerk of Holborn, stating that the money in question was paid as secret commission and not as agency fees; whether he is aware that in consequence of this payment the Holborn Town Council have 878 removed their Parliamentary business from this firm; will he say whether Messrs. Bircham and Co. still retain their appointment as Parliamentary Agents to the Board of Trade; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I have received a letter from the chairman of the Finance Committee of the Holborn Borough Council containing a statement to the effect referred to. I have also received an extract from a report by a committee, which was adopted by the borough council, which contains a recommendation to the effect that in future the council should employ for their Parliamentary work outside their offices some firm which has a rule prohibiting its members from making any allowance of the kind in question. The last part of the Question should be addressed to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade.