HC Deb 30 August 1893 vol 16 cc1530-2

Leave given to make a Special Report. Special Report brought up and read, as followoth:—

The Select Committee on Public Petitions having examined certain Petitions against the Established Church (Wales) Bill, and having observed that in the case of the Petition from Pwllheli, presented on the 16th May last, many of the signatures are in the handwriting of the same persons, and complaints having been made in regard to this and a considerable number of other Petitions from Wales that signatures have been obtained by means of misrepresentation, have decided to recommend to the House that the Order made upon the 16th day of May last, That the said Petition from Pwllheli do lie upon the Table, be road and discharged, and that the Petition be rejected.

ME. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

asked if there was no means of bringing up this contempt of Parliament by forging Petitions?


That is a matter for the opinion of the House. If the hon. Member brings it before the House it will be for the House to take notice of the matter.

MR. A. C. MORTON (Peterborough)

Might it be brought forward early in the day?


I think it might be brought forward at the commencement of Business. It appertains to the Privileges of the House.

SIR C. W. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

May it be brought forward by any Member, or can it only be brought forward by the Chairman of the Committee on Public Petitions?


On the action of the Chairman of the Committee, or any Member of the Committee may bring it forward.


Or any Member of the House?


It is left to the Committee in the first instance, but it is open to any other gentleman on a Report being presented to the House to take any action he may think proper. In the first instance, it is for the Committee of Selection to deal with it, and it is entirely within their discretion whether they take any action.


I do not know whether the objection that privilege must be taken notice of at once would apply to any other Member who might bring this forward?


As it affects the privileges of and the right of petitioning this House, I think the matter might be brought up at any time.


If within a reasonable time either the Chairman of the Committee or some member of the Committee does not bring the matter forward, any private Member can then do so.


Yes; that is the right interpretation.


I see the hon. Baronet the Member for Ipswich (Sir C. Dalrymple) in his place, perhaps he will be good enough to tell the House whether the Committee intend to take any step in regard to this Breach of Privilege?


The Select Committee on Public Petitions have gone very fully into the question to-day. They had before them allegations as to certain Petitions; they thought upon due consideration that the allegations were not of a kind they could attempt to substantiate to any great advantage; but, at the same time, they were of some gravity, and they desired to make an example in the case of the Petition which they thought had most offended. They, therefore, decided to recommend to the House that the Petition should not lie on the Table, but should be rejected. They do not propose to take any further step, and then-decision was come to unanimously, their reasons being given in the Report which has been read to the House.