§ MR. GLAUDK HAY (shoreditch, Hoxton)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Secretary of State is satisfied with the existing constitution and administration of the Office of the Crown Agents for the Colonies; what are the arrangements and conditions under which clerks enter this office; whether they undergo a competitive examination conducted by the Civil Service Commissioners, as in the case of other Government departments; and, if not, will he say why this is not done.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
The hon. Member is no doubt aware of the exhaustive inquiry instituted in 1901 by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham and of the views expressed in a published despatch of 26th February, 1904, which emanated from the late Colonial Secretary. The Secretary of State informs me that he accepts generally the position assumed by his predecessors with regard to the office of the Crown Agents. The clerks in the office are not Civil Servants and are therefore not subject to the conditions under which Civil Servants enter the Service. They are nominated by the Crown Agents who are responsible for their selection and for the adequate performance of their duties.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
was understood to ask if the right hon. Gentleman would consider the propriety of making a change in this matter.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
said the question had received a great deal of consideration, and it was one on which great differences of opinion existed. He could not say at the present moment whether any change would be made. He did not think any new matters would be brought to notice other than those set out in the despatches of the late Colonial Secretary.