HC Deb 27 February 1889 vol 333 cc545-8

On the question that the House do now adjourn,

MR. T. HEALY (Longford, N.)

I wish to ask the Home Secretary whether he can give any further information as to Mr. Pigott?

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

I also wish to put a Question to the right hon. Gentleman. Immediately before the rising of the House yesterday, the Home Secretary, in answer to the hon. and learned Member for West Ham (Mr. Forrest Fulton), said that the warrant issued by the Commission Court was not brought to Scotland Yard by Messrs. Lewis till a quarter-past six o'clock; that therefore, until that hour, the police could not possibly take any steps for the arrest of Mr. Pigott; and that immediately the warrant was received every step that was possible was taken by telegraphing to the ports and by employing persons to watch at all railway stations. That statement had relation only to the warrant issued by the Judge, under which no proceeding for extradition could be founded. I therefore ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he was aware, when he made that statement, that informations for perjury against Mr. Pigott were sworn at Bow Street yesterday by Mr. Parnell, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Labouchere, and Mr. Campbell, and that a few minutes before four o'clock Mr. Vaughan issued a warrant against Mr. Pigott for perjury, and that instantly that warrant was put into the hands of an Inspector of the Metropolitan Police; and will the right hon. Gentleman endeavour to reconcile his statement with those facts? I also ask whether, yesterday or last night the Government took any step to communicate with their agents in France, or in other parts of the Continent, or adopted any measures to secure the arrest of Mr. Pigott outside of the United Kingdom? I ask, further, whether any steps have been taken to obtain the extradition of Mr. Pigott, and, pending his extradition, to fix his whereabouts and watch his movements?


When I made the statement at the rising of the House last night, I was only aware of the warrant which had reached Scotland Yard at the time I named, and was not aware that the Bow Street warrant had been issued. It is quite true that between half-past four and five o'clock yesterday a warrant—I think for forgery, which I believe to be an extraditable offence—was issued from Bow Street police-court by Mr. Vaughan. It was given to the inspector on duty at the court, and was instantly acted on by him, in the ordinary course, without communicating with head-quarters. It had not, therefore, reached Scotland Yard at the time I spoke last night, and I knew nothing of it. As to telegraphic communication with Prance, I have already stated that telegrams were last night addressed to all the agents of the police, not only in France, but to all foreign stations, as to Mr. Pigott's whereabouts. As to the steps which have been taken to day, I have received no information in addition to what I stated this morning—namely, that the ordinary steps have been taken at the Home Office, and that the Home Office officials have been themselves in communication with the Foreign Office in order to obtain extradition from the French Government.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether, pending the possible extradition of Pigott, steps are being taken to fix his whereabouts and to keep him in view.


I think the right hon. Gentleman will see that I had better not go into that subject. The police are taking the usual course. I may say that my impression is that forgery is extraditable, but not perjury.

MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)

May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman said perjury was an extraditable offence?


My impression is that forgery is an extraditable offence, but not perjury.

MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

In the absence of the Attorney General, I beg to ask the Solicitor General whether he is aware that the Times is still selling its pamphlets called "Parnellism and Crime," and how long after what is called the apology of this morning it is going to disseminate these forgeries?


I have no information whatever with regard to that subject.


I ask your permission, Mr. Speaker, to give notice that tomorrow, if the Government can give us no information with regard to Pigott, I will ask Her Majesty's Postmaster-General at what hour the telegrams were sent out from Scotland Yard last night.