HC Deb 21 April 1887 vol 313 cc1417-8
MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

Mr. Speaker, I desire to say a word or two in the nature of a personal explanation, and if the House will allow me I shall only occupy its time for a few minutes. I regret very much to be compelled to refer to the matter; but a custom has arisen in this House of hurling the most odious and detestable personal charges at Members of this House in the course of debate, when it is perfectly impossible that they can reply to them. On Monday last the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) stated in this House that two Gentlemen, who were well known and who acted for months under my direction, went over to Ireland counselling assassination; and when I directed his attention to the fact that these Gentlemen were responsible to me and acted under my instructions, he repeated the charge, emphasized it, and said that those charges were made in the period to which I refer. That is a charge of a most odious character. I sat, and I waited to hear him proceed further; be cause I understood that you, Mr. Speaker, had ruled what any Member is bound to do when he makes charges of a criminal character against another Member—namely, substantiate his charges. The noble Marquess proceeded in his speech without even answering my appeal, without giving references to time, dates, or authority, so that I might be able to convince him of his mistake. Not only did he not substantiate his charges, but he did not even make them definite. I hold that I am entitled to take this opportunity of stating that this statement—which was given greater currency to by the noble Marquess under the authority of his great name and position in the country is utterly and most absolutely false. There is not a shadow of foundation for it. I think I am entitled to ask that he shall furnish me with the particulars of dates and extracts from speeches and references to the circumstances to which he alluded, when I shall be able to show him that his statement is entirely without foundation.

[The Marquess of HARTINGTON was not present, and there was no reply to the Question.]