§ VISCOUNT EBRINGTON (Devon, Tavistook)
I beg leave to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department the Question of which I have given him private Notice, Whether he can give any information as to how a person who had been recently sentenced to 15 years' penal servitude for being implicated in a dynamite conspiracy gained admission on more than one occasion to the Gallery and precincts of this House; and, whether he proposes to take any steps to inquire into the circumstances connected with the admission of the person in question?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
I have inquired into the subject referred to in the Question of the noble Viscount. The convict, Harkins, recently sentenced to 15 years' penal servitude for participation in a dynamite conspiracy, gained admission to the Speaker's Gallery on the 5th of August last, under the name 58 of M'Tin. In company with him was admitted another person, under the name of Melville, whose real name is Moroney. He is implicated in the same conspiracy, and there is a warrant of arrest out against him as yet unexecuted. These two persons appear to have been admitted to the Gallery in the usual way, by an order obtained by an hon. Member of this House. It is not clear that they were introduced to the Gallery by this same hon. Member; because, although his name appears in the register of admissions in the usual column, that name, as well as the names of Melville and M'Tin, appears to be in the handwriting of another hon. Member. Happily, Melville was known to be a suspicious person, and he was kept under close observation by the police. He not only entered the the Speaker's Gallery, but he spent some time on the River Terrace, in the company of the hon. Member who appears to have signed the register of admission. On another occasion Melville and Harkins were together in the approaches to the House; but do not appear to have entered the Galleries or precincts. These circumstances show that the admission of strangers to the House and its precincts requires to be accompanied by some better safeguards than exist at present.