HC Deb 02 May 1892 vol 3 cc1753-4
MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether any steps have been taken, or are intended to be taken, to deprive Mrs. Montagu of the custody of her children at the expiration of her sentence?


Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman answers may I ask is he aware that it appears from the report of the trial that, in the opinion of the Judge who tried the case, the prisoner acted from a mistaken sense of duty, and never intended the consequence that followed her treatment of her child?


As to the latter question, I can only say that I have no further knowledge than is possessed by any member of the public who has read in the Press the verdict of the jury and the language used by the learned Judge. In answer to the question on the Paper, I have to say that during the imprisonment of Mrs. Montagu her husband is solely entitled to the custody and care of his infant children, and there is no reason to apprehend his duty to them is not being properly discharged. At present I have no power to take any steps, and there is no reason for any intervention.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think it is desirable that the husband should have charge of the children, considering that the treatment to which they were subjected was within his knowledge, and he was unmanly enough to allow it?


I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman has not quite answered my question, which is whether Mrs. Montagu, when she comes out of prison, should have custody of the children? Should not protection be secured for them?


That question will not arise until April, 1893. I gather from the hon. Gentleman asking me what course I intend to take as Attorney General at that date, that he does not anticipate any change in the Government of Ireland in the interval. I fully adopt the hon. Gentleman's view of the probabilities of the case, and if he will put the question to me in April I shall be glad to answer it. In the meantime, I can assure him that the case has been, and shall be, carefully considered.

MR. H. GARDNER (Essex, Saffron Walden)

Can the right hon. Gentleman say if there is any foundation for the rumour that Mrs. Montagu is about to be released from prison?


No, Sir.