asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the inquiries upon the necessity for which he grounded the withdrawal of the Vote for the Salaries of the Official Referees has yet been made; whether the Referee whose appointment was then specially challenged has, in the meantime, entered on the duties of his office; and, if not, whether he will undertake that, before anything further is done, and before the Referees enter on their duties, he will inform the House of the result of his inquiries, and will take the deferred Vote; and, whether he can name an early day for ascertaining the opinion of the House upon this appointment?
, in reply, said, that on the occasion to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred the Vote for the salaries of the official referees was before the Committee of Supply, and that Vote was challenged upon the allegation that one of the gentlemen who had been ap- pointed to the office of official referee was not properly qualified, for his position. There seemed to be some uncertainty as to the circumstances of his appointment, and it was considered most desirable that the Vote should be withdrawn for the time, he undertaking to make inquiry of the Lord Chancellor as to the appointment in question. The Lord Chancellor had written him a letter of considerable length, which he requested him to read to the House, on the subject; but from what he had seen of the matter it was one which would occupy more time than ought properly to be given to it in answering a Question. They would, however, soon be in a position, he hoped, to bring the Vote forward again, and then all explanations would be given. He could not state then when they would go into Supply upon the Civil Service Estimates, but when they did, this Vote would be taken first. He understood that the referees entered upon their duties at the beginning of April, and in that position they stood at present. He thought it was probable that the Vote would be brought forward on Friday week, but he could not say for certain.