HC Deb 02 July 1845 vol 81 cc1417-8
Mr. Divett

had a petition to present, which required the immediate attention of the House. It was from Mr. Parrott, the late Member for Totness, and stated that in the course of last year he had been summoned before a Committee on medical relief to the poor, of which the noble Lord the Member for Dorsetshire was chairman, to give evidence of transactions which had taken place in the Union of which he was chairman; that he attended and gave such evidence; and that very recently he had received a communication, stating, that he was about to have an action brought against him for giving his evidence on that occasion. He had, however, taken no notice of it, and further proceedings had been adopted, a declaration having been filed on the 26th of last month, to which he had eight days to plead. He further stated, that he had not said anything against the individual who had brought the action in any other place than before such Committee. The declaration stated, that he had been guilty of giving false evidence and libelling the individual referred to: this the petitioner denied, and from inquiries which he (Mr. Divett) had made, he believed that the evidence of Mr. Parrott was in strict accordance with the truth. The petitioner prayed, that the House would take the matter into its consideration, and grant him protection against the said action. If the House was not prepared to shield and protect individuals whom they commanded to give evidence before Committees, they would abdicate some of their most important functions. His conviction was, that this was a question materially affecting the privileges of the House; but he merely claimed for Mr. Parrott that protection which he believed it was the duty of the House to extend to him. The declaration required him to plead on Friday next; and it was therefore desirable that there should be some expression of the opinion of the House as soon as possible. He need hardly state that Mr. Parrott was a public spirited man, but the proceedings which had been commenced might subject him to great expense; and he was, therefore, justified in coming to the House for its protection. He should move that the petition be printed with the Votes, and taken into consideration to-morrow.

Petition laid on the Table, and ordered to be printed.