HC Deb 14 December 1906 vol 167 cc825-6
SIR CHARLES DILKE ( Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to a letter purporting to be written from Government House, Natal, in the present year, on behalf of the Governor, in which it is suggested that His Excellency is advised in the matter of reserving Bills by the law officers of the Crown for Natal, and must be guided by their opinion; and whether he will state how far, as concerns subjects named in instructions as those which should be reserved, a Governor is guided by the advice of members of the Government directly concerned, and how far he acts on his own responsibility.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) I have seen the letter to which reference is made. A statement is made in the case of every Bill by the Attorney-General giving his opinion that assent may properly be given or that the instructions require reservation as the case may be. The Attorney-General in Natal is not a Minister but a permanent civil servant, but in any case the responsibility for assenting must rest with the Governor, who would not be bound by the advice given if the somewhat improbable case should arise of his considering that it was contrary to his instructions.