HC Deb 26 April 1920 vol 128 cc873-4W

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if nine gentlemen under 35 years of age were appointed to vice-consulships in the general consular service between 1st January and 30th April, 1919, none of whom qualified in the last Civil Service examination held for such posts (July, 1914); whether he can furnish particulars of the special qualifications held by these gentlemen which entitled them to receive consular appointments over the heads of those candidates, also under 35 years of age, who received nominations from the Foreign Office and qualified in the examination of July, 1914; whether, owing to the suspension of the consular examination consequent upon the late War, the candidates who qualified in the 1914 examination and who have never been offered posts, will be above the age-limit fixed for the consular examination announced to take place in August next; and whether, in consideration of their service with His Majesty's Forces, he proposes to compensate these men by appointing them to vice-consulships without further examination or, in the alternative, either to waive the age-limit in order to enable them to compete in the forthcoming examination, or to offer them posts in the Home Civil Service of equivalent value to vice-consulships in the consular service?


A number of candidates qualified at the examination held in 1914 for the consular service, but it must be remembered that that examination is competitive as well as qualifying. There were only four vacancies and these were filled by the four most successful candidates. It has never been the custom to continue to fill vacancies occurringafter a particular examination by candidates who had qualified at that examination. Subsequent vacancies were held over until the succeeding examination, when a further batch of vacancies could be offered to successful competitors at the new examination. The only exception to this rule is that when a vacancy occurs very shortly after an examination, the next successful candidate has occasionally been admitted. Had there been an examination for the consular service in 1915, candidates who had qualified in the 1914 examination, but had not been successful in obtaining a post then, would have been obliged to compete again in the ordinary way: they would not have received special treatment in any way. Candidates who qualified in the 1914 examination were at full liberty to appear before the Selection Committee in 1919, together with other candidates, but I do not consider that they should have received preferential treatment, nor can I hold out any hope that they will be more favourably treated at the examination to be held in August, or be given corresponding posts in the Home Civil Service.