§ MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N. E.)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called, to the sudden outbreak and rapid increase of pugilism in this country recently, under the designation of sport, boxing, prize-fighting, or other euphemistic terms; whether this mode of combativenesss is in accordance with the law of the land; and, whether newspaper reports of these encounters are legal; and, if illegal, whether the Government will institute proceedings against all those who take part in such practices, whether as principals or accessories, and against the newspapers which contain reports of them?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
Yes, Sir; my attention has been called to a certain amount of increased interest which has recently been displayed in pugilism. Prize-fighting, as distinguished from boxing or sparring with gloves, is illegal. A concourse of persons attending a prize-fight in this country is an unlawful assembly, which the authorities ought to prevent or to disperse. A newspaper paragraph, of which the object is to promote a prizefight, or to incite people to attend one, in this country would, I apprehend, be illegal; but, speaking generally, a mere narrative in a newspaper of a past prizefight, even in this country, would not be illegal. The Government have used, and will continue to use, their best endeavours to prevent those different breaches of the law.
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
Arising out of that answer, may I ask why it is that the publication of a bare record of the meetings of a political Society in Ireland are subject—
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON
I ask why it is that the editors and proprietors of such newspapers are subject to a month's imprisonment?
§ MR. HOWELL
May I further ask whether the publication of challenges for a prize-fight would or would not be an infraction of the law?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
Really, Sir, it does not belong to me to answer questions of law; but if the hon. Member desires to know my private opinion I should say it would.