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Supply Report

Volume 229: debated on Monday 12 June 1876

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Resolutions [8th June] reported.

called attention to the transfer of Votes involving increase of expenditure from Class 5 to Class 1. The complaint was that this year, for the first time, the house-rents for some of our Ministers abroad had been transferred from the Vote for the Diplomatic Service to the Vote for the Office of Works, and that some of these votes had been "surreptitiously" increased without any sufficient reason and without explanation, and this change, he contended, was contrary to the practice of the House and to a formal Resolution, if not, indeed, in contravention of an Act of Parliament. He would conclude by moving, on account of the lateness of the hour, that the House do adjourn.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That this House do now adjourn."—( Sir Henry Drummond Wolff.)

denied that there had been any attempt on the part of the Government to take the House by surprise and smuggle the Estimates through. The Vote he referred to, that for the Legation House at Brussels, was No. 25, and the particulars of it were fully set forth in the Estimates. The facts were these—The lease, which had been held by the Government and not by the Minister, had expired. It was proposed that the Government should purchase the house: but on the report of an officer of the Board of Works, who was sent over to make inquiry, it was determined to take another lease for a period of years at a rent of £720. They might have been wrong, but they acted on the best authority, and the course taken with regard to the Votes was taken on the advice and at the request of the Controller and Auditor General. He would not notice the tone of his hon. Friend, but so long as he held his present position he would always endeavour to give to the House, and to every hon. Member the fullest information on every Vote in his power. He hoped the House would acquit him of the charge of evasion which the hon. Member had brought againt him.

explained that he made no charge of evasion against the Secretary of the Treasury; but he did against the Foreign Office, and that charge he repeated.

thought the hon. Member for Christchurch had done good service by calling attention to a total increase of £2,000 in the Vote for the Brussels Embassy, of which there was no trace in the Votes.

defended the course which had been taken, and which, he said, had been taken at the instance of the Auditor and Controller General. As regarded the Legation House at Brussels, he would remind the House that rents had gone up all over the Continent. It was now for the House to decide upon whether they were to follow the course recommended by the Auditor General or revert to the old one.

denied that there had been any attempt at evasion. It would be easy to show by a note in Class 5 what changes were going on. If, however, the House desired it, the whole of these expenses should be set forth under Class 5 in the Estimates.

In reply to Mr. C. B. DENISON,

stated the Supplemental Estimate for the new road at Hyde Park Corner could not be brought forward until about the 9th of July; but the model and plans of the road would be deposited in the Library of the House; and though he could not order a census of the traffic at that point to be taken, the Commissioners of Police would no doubt be ready to undertake it.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Resolution agreed to.