§ MR. S. WOODS (Lancashire, Ince)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, at the forthcoming inquiry to be held at Pendleton, near Manchester, in reference to the alleged perjury which it is stated led to the imprisonment of a collier named John Kelsall (who has now been released from prison), he will cause the woman Elizabeth Curran, who is now in Knutsford Gaol, to be in attendance at such inquiry; whether the policeman, against whom certain charges are made, will also be in attendance; and if he will cause the inquiry to be a public one.
§ MR. ASQUITH
My hon. Friend's question appears to be founded on a misapprehension. So far as I am aware no inquiry of the kind referred to is about 1734 to be held. Some time ago I was requested by the Chief Constable and the Corporation of Salford to investigate charges which it was said had been made in a section of the Press against the borough police in relation to this case. I replied that I could not undertake such an inquiry, unless specific allegations put forward on the authority of responsible persons were brought to my notice. Up to the present this has not been done. I take the opportunity of suggesting that great caution should be exercised in accepting the statements circulated in relation to the action both of the Home Office and of the local police in this matter. The case is one of the most difficult, and in some of its aspects, quite the most unsatisfactory with which I have had to deal. I will only say at present that if, when the Home Office Estimates come to be discussed, any hon. Member thinks fit to call attention to it, I shall be prepared to explain and to vindicate to the full every step which has been taken from first to last by myself and by my Department.