HC Deb 13 November 1888 vol 330 cc1035-8

In order to avoid misunderstanding as to the statement I made yesterday with respect to the grounds of Sir Charles Warren's resignation, I ask leave to offer a short statement to the House on the subject. On the 8th of November I directed the following letter to be written to Sir Charles Warren:— Sir,—Mr. Secretary Matthews directs me to state that his attention has been called to an article signed by you in this month's number of Murray's Magazine, relating to the management and discipline of the Metropolitan Police Force. He desires me to forward to you the enclosed copy of a Home Office Circular, which was duly communicated to the Commissioner of Police in 1879, and to state that the directions in that Circular were intended to apply to the Metropolitan Police, and to every officer in the Force, from the Commissioner downwards. I am accordingly to request that, in the future, the terms of this Order may be strictly complied with. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, (Signed) E. LEIGH PEMBERTON. The inclosure from the Home Office was in these terms— The Secretary of State, having had his attention called to the question of allowing private publication, by officers attached to the Department, of books on matters relating to the Department, is of opinion that the practice may lead to embarrassment, and should in future be discontinued. He desires, therefore, that it should be considered a Rule of the Home Department that no officer should publish any work relating to the Department, unless the sanction of the Secretary of State has been previously obtained for the purpose. I received on the same day the following reply:— Sir,—I have just received a pressing and confidential letter, stating that a Home Office Circular of May 27, 1879, is intended to apply to the Metropolitan Police Force. I have to point out that, had I been told that such a Circular was to be in force, I should not have accepted the post of Commissioner of Police. I have to point out that my duties and those of the Metropolitan Police are governed by statute, and that the Secretary of State for the Home Department has not the power under the statute of issuing orders for the Police Force. This Circular, if put in force, would practically enable everyone anonymously to attack the Police Force without in any way permitting the Commissioner to correct false statements, which I have been in the habit of doing, whenever I found necessary, for nearly three years past. I desire to say that I entirely decline to accept those instructions with regard to the Commissioner of Police, and I have again—— [Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL and other Members: "Again!"] to place my resignation in the hands of Her Majesty's Government. I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, (Signed) CHARLES WARREN. I answered this letter on November 10, in the following terms:— Sir,—I beg to acknowledge your letter of the 8th instant. In that letter, after contending that the Secretary of State has not the power under statute of issuing orders for the Metropolitan Police, you decline to accept his instructions that the Commissioner and all officers of the Force should comply with the Home Office Minute of May 27, 1879, by which officers attached to the Home Department were enjoined not to publish any work relating to the Department without the previous sanction of the Secretary of State, and you place your resignation in the hands of Her Majesty's Government. In my judgment the claim thus put forward by you as Commissioner of Police, to disregard the instructions of the Secretary of State, is altogether inadmissible, and accordingly I have only to accept your resignation. At the same time, I am glad to acknowledge the services which you have rendered to Her Majesty's Government during the course of your administration of the Police Force. The Government accepted the resignation of Sir Charles Warren on the ground stated in the Correspondence I have read, and on no other ground. The failure of the police to discover the author of the recent crimes in the Metropolis, and the differences of opinion between Sir Charles Warren and Mr. Monro, had nothing to do with the action of the Government in parting with an officer so distinguished and so zealous in the discharge of his Office as Sir Charles Warren has been. I wish to add, in justice to Mr. Monro and Mr. Anderson, that since Mr. Monro's resignation he has not interfered in any way with the conduct of the business of the Criminal Investigation Department, nor has he been consulted by myself or by anyone else, to my knowledge, on that subject. The advice which I have sought from Mr. Monro was confined to the general question of the organization proper for the Department in the abstract, without any reference whatever to the daily current business of the Department.


I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what the Word "again" refers to in Sir Charles Warren's letter? Do I understand that it is not the first time that his resignation has been placed in the hands of Her Majesty's Government?


There have been previous differences of opinion which led to Sir Charles Warren tendering his resignation.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say at what time those differences occurred?


I do not think it necessary to enter into that matter.

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

What is the precise position which Mr. Monro holds now? He has been consulted by the Home Secretary.


Mr. Monro fills no office of any kind, and is in no way connected with the Department.

MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

Will the Correspondence read by the Home Secretary be laid upon the Table?


If hon. Members wish it.

MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

The documents having been read to the House by a Minister, is he not bound to lay them on the Table?

MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House whether the report in The St. James's Gazette, that the post has been offered to the hon. Member for Central Sheffield (Mr. Howard Vincent), is correct?


The statements in the newspapers upon this subject are always, so far as I have seen them, without any foundation in fact.