§ * MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the Permanent Secretary of the Board of Trade has, during the present year, been appointed on any Commissions or Committees other than the Royal Commission on Canals and Waterways, the South African Committee of Inquiry into the Methods of Self-government for the Transvaal and Orange River Colonies, and the Royal Commission on Shipping Rings; how long he was absent from England on the South African Committee; whether it is usual to appoint the heads of the permanent staff of important departments of State upon committees of inquiry into matters unconnected with the business of such departments, and which necessitates their absence from this country for many months; did the Controller-General of the Commercial, Labour, and Statistical Department perform the ordinary functions of the Permanent Secretary 754 during the absence of the latter in South Africa, and, if not, who performed them; and did the Permanent Secretary fully resume his duties as such upon his return from South Africa in July.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
The Answer to the first part of the Question is in the negative, and to the second part thirteen weeks. As to the third part, I can add nothing to the replies which have been given by the Prime Minister and by myself to the noble Lord the Member for the Horsham Division on 2nd April, and to my hon. friend on the 28th ultimo.†