HC Deb 01 April 1913 vol 51 cc199-200

asked the Prime Minister whether his refusal to disclose the evidence given before the Committee on Irish Finance is due to the refusal of only two or three out of the twenty-eight witnesses to allow their evidence to be published; and if so, who these witnesses are?

49 and 50. Mr. CASSEL

asked the right hon. Gentleman (1) whether he will appoint a Select Committee of this House to inquire into the advisability of no longer concealing the evidence given before the Committee on Irish Finance; and (2) how many witnesses before the Committee on Irish Finance were official witnesses and members of the Civil Service?


As I have repeatedly stated, the inquiry conducted by the Committee was a confidential inquiry for the information of the Government, and the evidence was given with an assurance to the witnesses that it would be treated as confidential. Clearly, therefore, the evidence cannot be published without the consent of those who gave it. Although the conditions which I laid down last Session have not been satisfied, yet, as a number of Members seem to think that there is some mystery in the matter, and that the Government have some motive of their own for not publishing the evidence—a suggestion which is, and always has been, without any foundation—my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary will put himself in communication with the witnesses to ascertain whether or not they are willing that their evidence should be made public. Further questions on the subject should be addressed to the Chief Secretary.


Are not the financial provisions of the Bill entirely opposed to the evidence of several of the witnesses?


I do not like to use an old formula, but, perhaps, the hon. Member will wait until he has seen the Report. He will have a great deal of disappointment.