HC Deb 16 May 1907 vol 174 cc1097-8
MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies a Question of which I have given him private notice, whether he has seen a statement as to the account in a daily paper of an unfortunate incident at the Colonial Conference, of which he said "it is from beginning to end a baseless and impudent fabrication"; whether his attention has been called to the following denial in the same paper to-day: "Immediately after Mr. Churchill's statement had been delivered in the House of Commons, a special, correspondent of the Daily Mail proceeded to Bristol and saw Sir Robert Bond, who, on being questioned, admitted that the statement published in yesterday's Daily Mail was substantially correct"; and what steps the right hon. Gentleman intends to take to remedy what seems to be an unfair slur on two of his colleagues sitting behind him.


I have seen the statement referred to, but I have also seen a very much longer detailed statement by Sir Robert Bond, which appears entirely to contradict it, and which also appears in the Daily Mail. Sir Robert Bond is out of town to-day, so I have not had an opportunity of asking him which of the opinions attributed to him he holds by; but if I were asked to express an opinion I should say that the statement attributed to him by the Daily Mail is another misrepresentation from the same mint.

VISCOUNT TURNOUR (Sussex, Horsham)

asked the Prime Minister, as President of the Imperial Conference, whether it was the fact that Sir Robert Bond's speech at Tuesday's sitting of the Imperial Conference lasted for upwards of an hour, and why the précis of that speech was condensed into four lines.


The Prime Minister is not President of the Conference. The regulation appointing him President will not come into force till a future Conference. Perhaps I may be allowed to say that Sir Robert Bond handed in a long report of his speech, and it was agreed by the Conference that it should be printed in extenso in the verbatim Reports, which will be shortly laid before Parliament.


The right hon. Gentleman does not appear to have understood the point of the Question—why it is that a speech which lasted for upwards of an hour was condensed into four lines, and why different treatment is meted out to different speakers in the précis of the Conference.


No different treatment is meted out to different speakers. I do not think it would have been of very great use or value if a long and complex statement, which is shortly to be published in toto, had been reduced to the compass of a short summary, especially considering that the question of the Newfoundland fisheries raises matters touching foreign affairs.


When will the verbatim Report be ready?


I should think it would be ready when the House meets after the holidays.