HC Deb 07 June 1888 vol 326 cc1410-3
MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, if his attention has been called to Questions 782 and 789 of the Evidence taken by the Select Committee as to the admission of dynamitards to the House of Commons; whether the order, said by Mr. Monro to have been issued through Mr. Speaker's Secretary to the hon. Member for Bermondsey for the admission of one of the alleged criminals is in existence, and could be laid upon the Table of the House; and, if so, would a Select Committee be granted to inquire into the manner in which this order came to be granted to an alleged dynamitard?

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

I have read that part of the evidence taken before the Select Committee of this House on the admission of strangers to which the hon. and learned Member calls my attention. The evidence has been fully considered and reported on by the Committee, and it was open to any Member of it to have pursued this particular portion of the evidence further if it was thought expedient to do so. Under these circumstances, I am not in a position to offer the hon. and learned Member another Committee; nor am I in a position to re-open the proceedings of this Select Committee.


To-morrow I shall ask the noble Viscount (Viscount Ebrington), who presided over the Committee, why it was that the English Member who gave a ticket to a dynamitard was not summoned before the Committee?

MR. LAFONE (Southwark, Bermondsey)

May I, Sir, with the indulgence of the House, make a short personal explanation on this subject? I never gave any order of admission such as has been mentioned in evidence as given by me. The order was not an order of admission to the House at all; and I have never given orders for strangers to inspect the House without accompanying them myself; therefore, I am quite certain that, from first to last, there has been some mistake about this matter. If you will read the evidence you will see that Mr. Monro afterwards referred to the order said to have been issued by me, and remarked that, having since inspected the ticket, he found "it was not signed by Mr. Lafone, but by the Speaker's Secretary," and that it was stated to have been given to a visitor by Mr. Lafone. Mr. Monro might just as well have given the name of any other Member. I can only repeat that I have never given a ticket, and never been the means of admitting anybody to go over the House, without personally accompanying them.


I am sure the House will accept fully the statement of the hon. Gentleman; but I now ask, especially after what the hon. Member has told the House, showing that Mr. Monro was so grossly mistaken, whether the right hon. Gentleman can possibly see now any reason for not granting a Committee of Inquiry to take further evidence in reference to this gross mistake committed by Mr. Monro?


I really do not see that it is necessary that a fresh Committee should be appointed, or that the former Committee should be re-appointed. The former Committee that sat were capable of pursuing the inquiry further if they had thought fits; but they do not appear to have thought it necessary to do so.

MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, whether the reason why some Members of the Committee were opposed to summoning the hon. Member for Bermondsey was that they wished to cast an unjust stigma on a political opponent?


I cannot say what the motives of the Committee were. I am only prepared to give the Committee full credit for desiring to do their duty to the House and the country.


Does the right hon. Gentleman recommend the House to take any action in the matter; and when will he give facilities for doing so?


I am not prepared to answer that Question without Notice. The hon. Gentleman must be aware that the time of the House is fully occupied; and I could not ask the House to embark on a discussion which is likely to be prolonged. If, however, I received an assurance of a general desire on the part of the House to consider the Report, I would at once afford an opportunity of doing so.


I wish to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he would ash Mr. Monro can he give any explanation with regard to the point blank contradiction of his testimony by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Lafone); and if he would tell the House what was Mr. Monro's exact position in Scotland Yard?


said, he was afraid he would have to ask for Notice of that Question, for his memory could not carry the information that would enable him to answer off-hand.


asked the right hon. Gentleman, whether the evidence was that the Speaker's Secretary had issued the order, which order was said to have been given by the hon. Member for Bermondsey to one of these suspected parties; and, whether he would refer to Mr. Monro the distinct contradiction of his statement by that hon. Gentleman; and if he would tell the House what was Mr. Monro's exact official position?


said, that Mr. Monro was one of the Assistant Commissioners of Police. He presided over the Criminal Investigation Department. If the hon. and learned Gentleman wished for any explanation of Mr. Monro's evidence he must give Notice of the Question.