HC Deb 28 May 1880 vol 252 cc640-1

Sir, the Question of which I gave Notice is somewhat different from that which appears on the Paper; but I now beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is correctly reported to have stated in Midlothian that the Anglo-Turkish Convention was an insane Convention; and, if so, whether he still adheres to that statement?


Sir, I am doubtful whether I am correctly reported to have used that epithet in Mid Lothian, according to the terms of this Question; but there is no question at all about my having used the word at some period shortly after the conclusion of the Convention, and I believe in this House, with other epithets to which I need not particularly refer. I need not say that these epithets are perhaps more proper subjects of discussion, if the hon. Member sees cause for it, than for inquiry, which after all comes to be an inquiry, not as to a matter of fact, but as to a matter of opinion. Now, Sir, with regard to those epithets, I am not able to retract anything I have said. On the other hand, I do not wish particularly to refer to them, or to repeat them, because, were I to repeat them, it would only have the unnecessary effect of disparaging an instrument with respect to which, whatever I may think of the policy which led to its conclusion, or of its character in other respects, I cannot possibly deny that we are not free to withdraw ourselves from.