HC Deb 24 June 1880 vol 253 cc725-7

who had the following Notice on the Paper:—To call the attention of the House to the last paragraph of the Report made by Mr. Justice Hawkins and Baron Pollock in their Report on the Gloucester Election Petition, and to move— That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the matter of the said paragraph and the circumstances under which the abandonment of the Petition against the return of Mr. Monk took place, appealed to the First Lord of the Treasury to allow the other Orders of the Day after the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill to be postponed, in order to enable him to proceed with his Motion.


said, he was afraid he was not able to give any assistance to the noble Lord, who might very well bring it on to-morrow upon Supply.


said, he had waited anxiously—he could not say patiently— to meet the offensive charge of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock, and he thought it cruel to postpone it for another day.


who had given Notice of an Amendment to oppose the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock, observed that the Motion involved an inquiry of a delicate nature, and as it was desirable that it should not slip through without comment he had taken the usual course to secure that, when it did come on, the House might express an opinion upon it. He wished to know from the Attorney General whether the Royal Commission would be able to inquire into this matter, and whether a Commission and a Select Committee could simultaneously carry on their inquiries?


replied that when the Election Judges reported that corrupt practices prevailed extensively, a Royal Commission almost invariably issued to inquire into the corrupt practices which prevailed, and report to the House. The hon. Member for East Gloucestershire asked whether the Commission could inquire into such a subject as that mentioned by the noble Lord—"The circumstances under which the abandonment of the Petition against the return of Mr. Monk took place." The Royal Commission would certainly have the power of inquiring into that subject, because it would bear directly on the question whether any corrupt bargain existed which had not been brought before the attention of the Election Judges. He could not say that the House had not the power to appoint a Committee to inquire into the subject, which affected the honour of one of its Members. He understood his hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester was most anxious to meet the Motion, and he would suggest that opposition to it would be really denying that hon. Gentleman the opportunity which he was entitled to ask, and which the House ought to afford him.


said, he could assure the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Monk) that he was under a complete misapprehension if he supposed that it was intended to make any offensive charge against him. All that was intended was to draw the attention of the House to the special Report of the Judges who tried the Election Petition. The hon. Member was never more mistaken in his life if he supposed that the Motion was inspired by any hostility towards himself.


while accepting the assurance of the noble Lord, said, that the Notice originally given by the noble Lord, and placed by him on the Order Book, not only called attention to the grave imputations upon a Member of that House, but contemplated an inquiry whether he (Mr. Monk) was or was not a party to the practices reported. The House could judge whether that was or was not offensive. It was only just to the noble Lord to say that at the request of the Prime Minister he withdrew what was offensive from the terms of his original Notice.


desired, in conformity with what he believed was the general wish of the House, to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.