HC Deb 17 March 1905 vol 143 cc395-6

On the Motion for the adjournment of the House,

*MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)

asked when it was proposed to set up the Public Accounts Committee. He did not admit for a moment that the consideration of the South African commissariat scandal should be adjourned until that Committee had dealt with the matter. But it was a singular thing for the Secretary of State for War to get up at Question time and shelter himself in regard to this matter by saying that he could not answer any Questions until the Public Accounts Committee had reported, and then that there should be even a day's delay in the nomination of the Committee by a colleague of the right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench. In his opinion, the Public Accounts Committee ought to be set up at the very beginning of the session, and he wished to know definitely what date would be fixed for its nomination.


said that he would have proposed the setting up of this Committee before, except for one reason—namely, that one or two Members were doubtful about serving until they knew whether a separate day would be given for the discussion of the Report of the Committee. Now, on account of what passed last night, he thought the House would agree that it was desirable that the Committee should be set up at once. He had handed in the notice at the Table that afternoon, and the Motion setting up the Committee would be down for Monday at the conclusion of the sitting. It would be composed of the same Members as were nominated last year, and he trusted, therefore, that each division of the House would allow it to be passed without objection after midnight.

MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)

Has the hon. Member for King's Lynn consented to serve?


said that he had written to the hon. Member for King's Lynn and told him the circumstances, and that he proposed to nominate him. Of course, if the hon. Member did not get the day he asked for he might ask to be discharged, in which case another Member would be substituted. But with a view to getting the Committee appointed as soon as possible, so that it might examine the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, he had put down the names of last year's Committee.

Adjourned at fourteen minutes before Six o'clock till Monday next.