66. Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether negotiations are being carried on for the sale to Mr. Hessen of the shares in the Siberian Bank owned by the Government?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I never asked this question yesterday, and the answer was given 2232 in order prevent me raising it to-day. Can the right hon. Gentleman say who is this Mr. Hessen?
No, I cannot say without notice. As regards the first part of my hon. Friend's question, it is perfectly true that when I drew up the answer to the question which the hon. Member put yesterday, and which was read by the Financial Secretary, I had before me the question he has put on the Paper to-day, and I took the opportunity yesterday of giving him the information for which he asks to-day. I am sorry if he thinks my answer is too brief.
Can he state why these secretive methods have been adopted and why this exclusive privilege of tendering has been given to this gentleman, in regard to whom, after all the inquiries he has made, my right hon. Friend professes that he knows nothing; and can he also state why this Government property has not been handed over to the Disposal Board to be disposed of, in accordance with the well-known principles which have been established by that Board, and which have worked out so well in the public interest?
If the hon. Member wishes me to answer a whole series of quesions of that kind, I hope he will put them on the Paper. I did not say that I, or the Government, knew nothing about Mr. Hessen. All I said was that I could not answer his question without notice.