§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
I beg, Sir, to ask a Question of the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Gedge) concerning an important Notice which he has put down on the Order Book—To call the attention of the House to the conduct of the Government and of certain Members of the House with respect to the proclaimed meeting in the County of Glare, on Sunday the 4th of September; and to move a Resolution.I wish to ask the hon. Member for Stock-port whether he will give the House any intimation of the time when he intends to bring that Resolution forward?
§ [No reply.]
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
Well, as I cannot get any answer from the hon. Member, I will ask a Question of the Government. I beg to ask, whether the Government have made up their minds— as it appears we are not to be allowed to discuss this question—whether they have made up their minds to prosecute the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. P. Stanhope) for taking part in a proclaimed meeting in Ireland last Sunday?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) () Strand, Westminster
I must say that I am taken by surprise. It is not in my power to give an answer to such a question; and even if it were in my power I should not give an answer to such a Question as that which the hon. Baronet has addressed to me. I have no knowledge whatever of the circumstances. It is not within my Department; and, therefore, I am not aware whether the hon. Member for Wednesbury has brought himself within the law or not.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
May I ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether it is intended to prosecute any persons who took part in the meeting?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. GIBSON) () Liverpool, Walton
It is not the practice, as far as I am aware, for Questions to be asked and Questions to be answered as to the action of the Crown in instituting prosecutions.
§ MR. R. T. REID (Dumfries, &c.)
I beg to ask, whether the Government will give us the instructions which were. 1365 issued to the officers in command of the military and police as to the circumstances under which they were or were not to interfere with the meeting?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR)() Manchester, E.
The request which has been made to the Government is not one which I think is usually addressed to the Government, or one which I think it would be in the public interest to answer.
§ MR. R. T. REID
Allow me to state my reason for asking the Question. It is obviously illegal to disperse a meeting if that meeting be of a peaceable character, and my object is to learn from the right hon. Gentlemen whether the military and police are commissioned to interfere with peaceable meetings in Ireland, or only when they became otherwise than peaceable?
§ [No reply.]