HC Deb 14 September 1886 vol 309 cc342-3

asked the Secretary of State for War, If his attention has been called to the following statement attributed to Colonel Hope, in The Daily Chronicle of 13th September:— As regards the initial conspiracy, I have charged in my statement, and I charge now, two ex-officials (whom I have named) of the highest class in the Ordnance Department, one of them at the time in the full pay of the Royal Artillery, and both, at that time, in a fiduciary position, and having the power of giving out contracts, with conspiracy to defraud the Nation, by doing certain things which I described in my statement; and, whether any statement submitted by Colonel Hope to him did in fact contain such charges?

THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

I have seen the paragraph referred to; but I have nothing to add to the answer I have repeatedly given in this House, to the effect that the statement of Colonel Hope contained nothing which would justify me, in the opinion of the Law Officers and of myself, in submitting it to any Court which could be considered competent of dealing with it judicially. The document has been returned to Colonel Hope in compliance with the condition he made in sending it to me, and after all that has passed he would appear to me to be bound in honour to publish it to the world intact, if he believes the allegations contained in it to be true. Hon. Members would then be able to judge for themselves of the nature of the charges he brings, and of the character of the evidence by which they are supported.