HC Deb 04 November 1918 vol 110 cc1783-4
58. General CROFT

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the fact that a circular letter has been sent to the electors of the new Putney Division; that accompanying that letter was a further circular from the Conservative and Unionist Association urging electors to join that association, the minimum subscription of which is 1s., and promising a free coupon to each subscribing member for £1,000 insurance in omnibus, tram, train, or cab accidents; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent such action?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I am advised that no breach of the law is committed, and no action is contemplated in the matter.

General CROFT

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the effect of this will be that if there are 100 accidents in Putney division, £100,000 will be paid; and if such a custom is to become general, it will be absolutely impossible for a poor association or candidate to stand for Parliament?


I do not know enough about the facts to argue on the morality of it. As I understand it, from the knowledge I have, everyone to whom this circular is circulated has to pay a subscription, and the insurance is paid out of that subscription.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the amount of the minimum subscription is not enough to cover the risks involved in this offer?


I think that is wrong. I think the same sort of thing is done by many newspapers, and I presume the subscription more, than covers the risks involved.


This is for a year.

General CROFT

Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the whole matter and get hold of the facts, because it seems to involve a great principle?


As I understand it, the issue is whether something in the nature of a bribe was offered.