The district auditor discovered serious defalcations on the part of the late assistant overseer, and the latter has since been convicted of forgery and embezzlement. The auditor's final report was deferred pending the trial, but he has made an interim report in which he states that he has come to the conclusion that the members of the parish council had not acted corruptly or been in collusion with the assistant overseer.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some few days ago the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Gateshead (Brigadier - General Surtees) in this House charged this council with the misapplication of funds, and of expenditure without sanction? May I take it, in view of the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, that that has absolutely no foundation?
I did not hear the statement of the hon. and gallant Gentleman; but the district auditor, as I have said, has been into this question, and what he says would appear to bear out what the hon. Gentleman has just said.
I was going to ask your ruling, Sir, on a question put by the hon. and gallant Member for Gateshead, which implied a serious charge against a certain parish council, as will be seen by the answer. In view of the fact that the hon. and gallant Gentleman is not in his place, I propose to waive my right to ask your ruling on the matter till such time as he is present.