HC Deb 15 June 1915 vol 72 c553

I wish to ask you, Sir, in view of the business to-day, what is the proper procedure to be followed when the Government of this country is making advances, either by way of loan or subsidy, to foreign Powers. Has it not always been the practice, not only in the great European war which culminated in 1814, but also in recent times, in time both of war and peace, for the Government to present either a special Vote or an Estimate showing the amount of the advance and the foreign Power to which it is to be devoted. Has not this practice been followed even when the advance has been made, previously to a Vote of the House, out of the Treasury Chest Fund, as to Persia two years ago, and whether there is any other course whatever consistent with the practices and liberties of this House by which money raised by this House can be advanced to a foreign Government?


Money voted in Committee by this House, for whatever purpose, must eventually obtain the sanction of an Act of Parliament, and it does not become validated until an Act of Parliament is passed validating it. The actual procedure has varied, I think, from time to time. On the whole, the view which the hon. Member has taken is correct. As a rule, a Motion is made in Committee setting forth specifically the objects of the particular grant of money. But in the case of the Persian loan there was no such Resolution. The money was paid out of the Treasury Chest the year before last, and last year there was a Resolution submitted. That Resolution was subsequently validated by the Appropriation Act. I have no reason to suppose that in this case somewhat the same procedure will not be followed. To sum up, an Act is necessary before the payment of the money can be made valid.