HC Deb 18 December 1912 vol 45 cc1497-8

asked the Prime Minister whether, in deciding upon the appointment of Select Committees in the case of the Marconi contract and the vacation of Sir Stuart Samuel's seat, he had in mind the Amendment to the Address to Her Majesty moved by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer on the 10th December, 1900, to the effect that Ministers of the Crown and Members of either House of Parliament holding subordinate office in any public Department ought to have no interest, direct or indirect, in any-firm or company competing for contracts with the Crown unless, the nature and extent of such interest being first declared, Her Majesty should have sanctioned the continuance thereof and, when necessary, have directed such precautions to be taken as might effectually prevent any suspicion of influence or favouritism in the allocation of such contracts; and whether he will consider the desirability, now he is in a position of official responsibility, of bringing in legislation to carry out the intention of such Amendment?


Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, may I ask if in any action the Government may decide to take they will have regard to the position of hon. Members, like the hon. Member for Brentford (Mr. Joynson-Hicks), who endeavoured to obtain a position on the Select Committee, appointed to inquire into the operations of the motor 'buses, in which he is interested?


That is irrelevant and an offensive personal suggestion.


Is it not in order to suggest, as I do suggest, that the hon. Member had a personal interest in the operations of this Committee?


Certainly not, on an occasion such as this.


I do not think that any such legislation is needed.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that occasion was opposed by the present and the late Leader of the Opposition, and is he aware that Sir Trout Bartley, on the same evening, characterised Lord Salisbury's Cabinet as the "Hotel Cecil"?