HC Deb 18 June 1863 vol 171 cc1048-9

said, in the absence of his hon. Friend (Mr. Evans), he would beg to ask Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the Report of the Lisburn Election Committee; and, if so, whether it is his intention to institute criminal proceedings against John Doherty Barbour, esq., or any of the other persons who were proved before the said Committee to have been guilty of bribery at the last Election?


said, his attention had been called to the Report of the Committee in question. He had considered that Report, and he had thought it his duty to inquire as to the practice of the House in matters of that description. Having done so, he discovered that the practice was uniform—namely, in the case of a Committee finding a person guilty of bribery, that the House had always taken the initiative in the prosecution. There was no instance, as he was informed, of any other course. He believed, however, that a different course had been taken in reference to the finding of Royal Commissions of Inquiry, but there was no other case in which the initiative was not taken by the House itself. In the present Session an Act was passed changing the practice, and casting upon the Attorney General the duty of considering such a Report, and, if he thought fit, of instituting proceedings upon it. That Act had, however, passed since the finding of the Committee in question. He did not therefore think himself justified in departing from he established practice of the House, unless the House should think it necessary to order proceedings in the matter.


said, he would then give notice that he should to-morrow call attention to the Report referred to, and to move a Resolution thereon.