HC Deb 12 February 1875 vol 222 cc269-70

said: I bog to ask the hon. and learned Member for Frome (Mr. Lopes)—and not, as has been erroneously printed on the Notice Paper, the hon. and learned Member for Tyrone—Whether he is correctly reported in "The Times," September 11th, 1874, as having used the following words, refering to certain Members of this House:— What was the present position of the Liberal Party? In the House of Commons they were deserted by their Chief, who, by his fitful appearance in the House, disappointed their hopes. They were allied to a disreputable Irish band, whose watch-word in the House was Home Rule and Repeal of the Union?


I had hoped that when the hon. Member described me as the hon. and learned Member for Tyrone he had intended it as a compliment to me. In answer to the Question he has put to me, I beg to state that, so far as my memory can be trusted in respect of words alleged to have been uttered by me six months ago, in an after-dinner speech, on the occasion of a great and successful Conservative demonstration, I say, so far as my memory can be trusted, I believe, that, in effect, I did use the expressions which have been attributed to me. Sir, if it is any satisfaction to the hon. Member for Louth, who appears to be of a somewhat sensitive temperament, I unhesitatingly say that I never for one moment intended to be personally disrespectful to the Irish Members who sit in this House; but, Sir, I meant then—what I repeat without qualification now—that, in my humble opinion, the advocacy of measures calculated to impair the integrity of the United Kingdom is politically "not creditable." Now, Sir, I use the words, "not creditable," advisedly; and if the hon. Member for Louth, in his leisure moments, will do me the favour to refer to that great authority,—Johnson's Dictionary, in three volumes, by Mr. Todd, published in 1827—he will find that "not creditable" is absolutely the only meaning assigned to the adjective "disreputable."


I wish distinctly to ask the the hon. and learned Member whether he withdraws the language "a disreputable Irish band, whose watchword in the House was Home Rule and Repeal of the Union?" Are the words withdrawn or not?—As no answer is given, I beg to give Notice that on Monday I shall call attention to this matter on a Question of Privilege.