HC Deb 13 March 1877 vol 232 cc1858-9

I wish, with the kind indulgence of the House, to say a few words with regard to the Notice of Motion which I gave the other day after the Answer of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary in reference to Lord Coleridge. It will be in the recollection of the House that the learned Judge had laid down a doctrine at the Durham Assizes—["Order!"] I will not occupy the attention of the House more than a few minutes. It consequently seemed to me, and to many other hon. Members, that this doctrine required some explanation—["Order!"] I wish to make a personal explanation. I can only express my regret that Lord Coleridge should have considered me in any way discourteous; but I was not aware that it was customary to give private Notice of a Question to any one not being a Member of this House, the more especially as I gave public Notice of it, and it appeared in every London morning paper. I still more regret that the learned Judge did not receive the inquiry which I ventured to make in the same spirit of fairness and impartiality in which it was put. In his reply to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, Lord Coleridge adhered to the law which he had laid down, and the observations which he had made, stating that he was not accountable for his acts to any Member of the House of Commons. When that answer was given I felt that, although I was a very young and humble Member of this House, I should be guilty of neglecting a, grave responsibility if I refrained from giving Notice that I should call attention to the doctrine laid down by the learned Judge and the language of his reply to this House. But, Sir, I now find that the only Motion I could make would be one of the most stringent character, and one which would be, in the estimation of those whose judgment I value most highly, and whose opinions I am bound to respect, rather stronger than the merits of the case demand. I have to thank the House for allowing me to make this explanation, and it only remains for me now to say that, under the circumstances, I do not intend to proceed with my Motion.