§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
asked the Secretary of State for War, When the Evidence and Report of the Committee, presided over by the Judge Advocate General, to inquire into the supply of Leather by Army contractors will be published; whether Messrs. Ross and Company, of Bermondsey, will be required to make good anything wanting in past supplies; whether the greater proportion of defective leather already supplied has been issued; what will be done with the hides remaining in store; whether it was at one time decided to rescind Messrs. 1377 Ross's contract; and whether that decision has been reversed, and why?
§ MR. LAFONE (Southwark, Bermondsey)
asked, "Whether some of the experts called were not of opinion that the leather supplied was equal to the pattern; whether the contractors had proved that a large number of the hides rejected were sold in the trade at a price considerably above the contract price; and whether Messrs. Ross and Co. did not express themselves ready to do anything that the Department thought right when a complaint was made?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
I am informed that the Report of the Judge Advocate General on the supply of leather to the Army, with the evidence, will be issued to-morrow. As regards hides, Messrs. Ross and Co., who have placed themselves in the matter entirely at the disposal of the Department, will be required to make good anything wanting in past supplies. All defective hides remaining in store have been returned to them, and they will replace them at their own cost. There are no standing contracts for hides, and, therefore, none to rescind. Hides are bought by competition as required. The greater part of the hides had been issued; but a large number have been returned from out stations, and will be treated in the same way as those in stock.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
asked, Whether it was not the case that the contractor in question and the Director of Contracts both belonged to the local Conservative Association?
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he considers that no disgrace attaches to a refusal to answer the question?
§ [No reply.]