§ MR. C. P. SCOTT (Lancashire, Leigh)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, whether he has any information as to the accuracy or otherwise of the statement recently made by one of the special correspondents in the Soudan dated Monday last, in which he states that, after the defeat of the Dervishes at the battle of Firket, most of the women have already been triumphantly appropriated by the blacks, meaning the black troops who formed part of the force commanded by Major Burn-Murdoch; and, whether, if he has no information, he will cause inquiry into the facts to be made?
§ SIR JOSEPH PEASE (Durham, Barnard Castle)
Before the hon. Gentleman answers that question, may I ask him if he can also say how many Dervishes were killed in the battle of Firket?
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
May I also ask the hon. Gentleman if he can say whether it is under the British or Turkish flag that these military operations are being conducted?
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. GEORGE CURZON,) Lancashire, Southport
Perhaps, as the Question on the Paper 972 concerns the Foreign Office, the hon. Gentleman will allow me to reply. No information of the character has been received.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
Will the right hon. Gentleman cause inquiry to be made as to this statement which appeared in one of the principal morning papers?
§ * MR. CURZON
No, Sir; the information appears to me extremely unlikely to be true, and if we were to telegraph from the Foreign Office respecting every newspaper report that appears the wires would never be idle. [Laughter.]
§ MR. JAMES O'KELLY (Roscommon, N.)
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is not aware that all these Dispatches from the Soudan are subjected to a military censorship before they are sent to this country? ["Hear, hear!"]
§ * MR. CURZON
No, Sir; I am not a military authority, and I am not acquainted with military matters.
§ MR. W. REDMOND
asked whether, in view of the interest taken in the matter and of the fact that several Members desired the right hon. Gentleman to make inquiries, he would do so?