§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury a Question of which I have given him private Notice, and which, if he requires more time to answer it, I will put down for to-morrow. It is, whether, in view of the serious charges which have recently been made against the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), the Government will consent to the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the truth of those charges?
§ MR. PARNELL (Cork City)
Just previously to the rising of the hon. Baronet I had intended to put the same Question. I now beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, whether he will grant a Select Committee, consisting, if he likes, entirely of English and Scottish Members of this House—I mean a Committee consisting of non-Irish Members—for the purpose of inquiring into the authenticity of the letters read at the recent trial, containing serious charges against myself and several other Members of this House.
§ THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
Mr. Speaker, I received the Notice of the hon. Baronet as I entered the House; 743 but I have no hesitation in at once replying to the Question which he has addressed to me. I may say, Sir, that my view remains precisely the same as it was last year. This House is absolutely incompetent to deal with—to use the language of the hon. Baronet—the "grave charges" to which he refers, or be at any time a tribunal of the character indicated. I have the less hesitation in saying this, as there exists tribunals in this country on whose competence and absolute impartiality no doubt whatever can possibly be thrown.
§ MR. PARNELL
I beg to give Notice that I shall to-night put a Motion on the Paper to move for the appointment of such a Select Committee. I also beg to give Notice, that on Thursday I shall ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will give me a day for the discussion of this Notice, in order that I may have an opportunity of repelling the foul and untrutful charges which have been made against me by his Attorney General?