§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I wish to put a Question to you, Sir, affecting a matter of Privilege. A statement is current in the public Press that a certain forged letter, a facsimile of which appeared in The Times of yesterday, had been for some time in the possession of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell). As the matter is one which affects the veracity of an hon. Member of this House in respect to a statement made by him in this House in the discharge of his duty, I wish to know whether I am not entitled to ascertain from the hon. Member for South Tyrone whether the forged letter was in his possession; how it came into his possession; and if it passed directly from him to the Editor of The Times?
§ MR. SPEAKER
Certainly. I think it is, under the circumstances, competent for the hon. Member to put that Question in order to elicit information.
§ MR. SEXTON
Then, Sir, I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Tyrone, If it is true that a document, of which a facsimile copy appeared in The Times of yesterday, was at any time in his possession; and, if so, from whom he received it—[Cries of "Oh!" from the Ministerial Benches]—and if it passed directly from him to the Editor of The Times?
MR. T. W. EUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
I desire to say that the paragraph which appears in an evening paper is a pure concoction from beginning to end. Apart from the fact that some time ago it came to my knowledge that there was such a correspondence, there is not a word of truth in the paragraph.
§ MR. SEXTON
The hon. Member has spoken of a correspondence, whereas my Question simply related to a document. May I ask him what the correspondence is to which he refers?
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
As far as the document is concerned, there is not a word of truth in the paragraph in question.