HC Deb 26 March 1908 vol 186 cc1699-700

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the House do now adjourn."


said he had given notice to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that he would ask him to explain why he had departed from the usual custom and not given them a Memorandum accompanying the Estimates issuing from his Department. He presumed the hon. Gentleman had some explanation to offer and he should be glad to have it.


said he was sorry the hon. Baronet had not been supplied with a Memorandum. As a matter of fact it was completed immediately they compiled the last of the classes in the Civil Service Estimates. It had been ready for well over a week, and he did not know why it had not been circulated. He would see that an advance copy was placed in the hand of the hon. Baronet.

LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)

said the Memorandum ought to have been in their hands before, and the fact that it had not been supplied would have afforded technical ground for postponing the Motion that Mr. Speaker do leave the Chair. He hoped that the Secretary to the Treasury would make inquiries with the view of ascertaining how the error had occurred.

MR. MORTON (Sutherland)

said it was all very well for the Secretary to the Treasury to say that he did not know why the Memorandum had not been circulated, but somebody should be censured for its not having been attended to. The salaries of officials had to be paid whether the work was done or not. It was not fair to withhold information in that way, and then when the Estimates came on for consideration to closure discussion. That was contrary to the usual practice of the House of Commons, and if the Secretary to the Treasury could not get into a better state of mind, he would have something to say on the subject when the hon. Gentleman's salary came on for discussion. The House was entitled to a better explanation than the hon. Gentleman had given.

MR. GRETTON (Rutland)

said the explanation given to the House in regard to the absence of the Memorandum was not adequate, and those who took an interest in the national finances had a right to feel aggrieved. He associated himself with the protest which had been made.

VISCOUNT HELMSLEY (Yorkshire, N.B., Thirsk)

said it was unsatisfactory not to have had the Memorandum before. He thought the Secretary to the Treasury had treated the House very cavalierly in the answer he had given.

EARL WINTERTON (Sussex, Horsham)

asked when the Second Beading of the Licensing Bill and the Education Bill would be taken.

Mr. J. A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)

said his right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had already informed the House that the Second Beading of the Licensing Bill would be taken on Monday week. No arrangement had been made in regard to the Education Bill up to the present time.

Question put, and agreed to.

Adjourned at twenty-seven minutes after Eleven o'clock.