HC Deb 11 March 1887 vol 312 cc38-9

The following Question stood on the Notice Paper in the name of Mr. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N):—To ask the First Lord of the Treasury, If he can explain why the evidence of the Royal Commission on the Irish Land Question, presided over by Lord Cowper, contains, as if from four witnesses, a series of statements headed "Anonymous;" and, is there any precedent for evidence to be received or published by a Royal Commission from witnesses unwilling to give their names?


said: The authorities of the House being unable to place upon the Paper the Question that I desired to put, I decline to put this Question.


asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to prosecute any official or employés of the Government who, either by the Royal Commissions or Committees now sitting, have recently sat, or may sit at any time in the future, to investigate matters connected with arms, stores, &c. in connection with the Military and Naval Departments of the State, or by any other means, may be found guilty of betrayal of trust in receiving payment in money or kind from contractors or others for disclosing or parting with, without high authority, plans, tracings, designs, and information generally of a most confidential character relating to Government or to Government workshops?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

I understand the Question of my hon. and gallant Friend to be an inquiry whether the Government will use any powers the law may give them to punish breach of trust, fraud, or corruption in a public servant, or in any persons in relation to Public Departments over whom they have control; and my answer is that in all cases of the kind in which the law gives power to punish that power will be rigorously exercised.

MR. HANBURY (Preston)

If the law is inadequate, will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to strengthen it?


I will certainly undertake that the subject shall be care-fully examined into.