HC Deb 09 January 1913 vol 46 cc1363-5

asked what particular qualifications Sir Sydney Olivier possesses for appointment as secretary to the Board of Agriculture; whether he has spent his whole Civil service in the Colonial Office and under Colonial Office administration; and whether there are no officials now under the Board of Agriculture who are considered competent to undertake the office of Secretary to the Board?

112. Mr. STANIER

asked whether Sir Sydney Olivier, K.C.M.G., has had any previous knowledge of or experience in agriculture in the British Isles; and "whether, in his previous British appointments, he has had any practical experience in the Board of Agriculture work?

113. Mr. REMNANT

asked what experience in agriculture Sir Sydney Olivier has which warrants his appointment as permanent secretary to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries?

118. Mr. C. BATHURST

asked if Sir Sydney Olivier, the newly appointed permanent Secretary of the Board of Agriculture, has any agricultural, in addition to his high administrative, qualifications for his new post?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Runciman)

Sir Sydney Olivier comes to his new work with a fresh mind and with a reputation for ability and energy displayed in every post held by him at home and abroad. I considered the merits and qualifications of many gentlemen, both inside and outside the Civil Service, and I am satisfied that in obtaining Sir Sydney Olivier's acceptance of the offer which I made to him I have secured the man best fitted to perform the varied duties of this important post. With regard to the last paragraph of the question asked by the hon. Member for the Wilton Division, the agricultural community may rest assured that the new Secretary of the Board of Agriculture will continue, as in the past, to observe faithfully the tradition of the Civil Service, of which he has been a member for more than thirty years.


Without in any way finding fault with the appointment, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to ask Sir Sydney Olivier, as Ireland is so greatly interested in an appointment of the kind, to spend a little time in that country before taking up his office?


Is it a fact that Sir Sydney Olivier is a Vice-President of the Fabian Society, which advocates nationalisation and confiscation of all private property?


Is it a fact that Sir Sydney Olivier owes his present appointment to the recommendation of the late Colonial Secretary, the Member for West Birmingham?


Have questions of this kind ever been raised before in the case of the transfer of distinguished public servants from one position to another?


What about the Master of the Mint?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the recreations of this gentleman are loafing and dilettantism—


I cannot allow that question. It might just as well be asked what are the recreations of the hon. Member?