HC Deb 14 July 1924 vol 176 cc12-3

asked the Prime Minister if he has ascertained whether the Departmental Committee at present inquiring into the question of State printing propose to investigate the facts recently disclosed in the Law Courts of the payment by one Government contractor to another for the purpose of preventing competition in regard to certain Government contracts; and whether, in such event, he can state how they propose to deal with the matter?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. William Graham)

I understand that the Committee are proposing to make such further inquiries as are open to them in regard to the contracts in question and the similar contracts now running, but it will, of course, be understood that the Committee have no power to subpœna witnesses or to take evidence on oath.


Does not the hon. Gentleman think this a very unsatisfactory tribunal for investigating a grave matter of this character, and will he consider the question of setting up a Committee which will have power to call for documents and to examine witnesses on oath?


It may, as the hon. Gentleman suggests, not be satisfactory, but at the moment it would be difficult to do other than allow the Committee to make the investigation. Let us get that, and I will undertake to make further inquiry, in order to find out what additional steps should be taken.


When shall we have the Report of the Committee that is sitting at present?


I could not give a date for that, because I am afraid that this additional duty may entail delay.