HC Deb 12 April 1877 vol 233 cc966-8

gave Notice to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to-morrow, Whether he will lay upon the Table of the House a copy of the evidence given in the case of the "Queen v. Kenealy," tried on the 11th of May, 1850, in the Court of Queen's Bench, before Lord Campbell, with a copy also of the sentence pronounced by Mr. Justice Patteson on the defendant, on the 30th of May, 1850, and of the affidavits read in Court on the said day of sentence?

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as Leader of the House, Whether it is in accordance with the custom of the House, and its traditions as an assembly of gentlemen, that incidents in the lives of private Members, which took place more than a quarter of a century ago, should be perpetually revived there for the purpose of holding up these Members to the ridicule, contempt, or hatred of the House of Commons: the majority of the said Members being in complete ignorance of the real facts?

To ask Mr. W. E. Forster, the Member for Bradford, Why it was that in moving his Resolution of Wednesday last he did not at the same time call upon the Member for Louth to withdraw and apologize for the following language used by that honourable Member in the House and in the Lobby, as reported in the daily papers of April 12: "A slave and coward;" "a coward and a libeller;" "a wretch;" "a mean and despicable coward;" "a wretched individual who had arisen to shock and outrage the public morals and public conscience of this country;" a wretched man who had maltreated and starved his illegitimate child" (the latter portion of which charge was wholly without foundation) — epithets and language that provoked the Member for Stoke into the use of a retort which he does not regret, but for which lie has been compelled to apologize to the House?


I am obliged to point out to the House, and the hon. Member, that the last Question of which he has given Notice is one which, following the practice of the House, cannot properly be put. In the first place, it refers to a preceding debate in this House; and, in the second, it is of an argumentative character, and Questions of an argumentative character cannot be put in the form of a Question. If, however, the hon. Member desires to bring the matter to which he has referred to the notice of the House, he is at liberty to do so in the form of a substantive Motion.


I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for kindly informing me.


I feel that I cannot avoid taking notice of an expression used by the hon. Member in the Question of which he gave Notice—that which you, Sir, ruled cannot be put—which, I think, was not in accordance with the Rules of this House. The hon. Gentleman made reference to something which passed yesterday—I was not myself present—but I believe it is well known what occurred. The hon. Gentleman spoke of having been provoked to use an expression which he said he did not regret, although he had been compelled to apologize for it. Sir, I think that this is language which it is hardly right for an hon. Member of this House to use in reference to an expression which in deference to the honour of this House he has felt it necessary to withdraw. I feel sure the hon. Gentleman on consideration will see that the expression "which he does not regret" is one which he ought not to have used.