HC Deb 06 May 1897 vol 48 c1616
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs a Question of which I have given him private notice. It is whether he can state if there is any truth in the report in The Times of to-day that one of my influential constituents, the Member for the Ecclesall Division of Sheffield, is now a prisoner on board a Greek man-of-war—[laughter]—having been taken out of a Turkish coasting vessel when on his way to Salonika; whether any representation has been or will be made to the Greek Government at Athens, and a demand presented for his immediate release, together with a suitable apology—[laughter]—for this breach of international courtesy; or whether the hon. Gentleman is to be deemed contraband of war. [Loud laughter.]


Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, I wish to ask him whether it is the case that the son of the hon. Member for the Ecclesall Division is detained by the Greek Government, and, if so, whether Her Majesty's Government will use their great influence with the Greek Government with a view to securing' the son's immediate liberation on the ground that a son cannot be held responsible for the acts of his father? [Laughter.]


I am sure the House appreciates the solicitude which the hon. and gallant Admiral has so promptly displayed on behalf of his influential constituent. It is true that the hon. Member for Ecclesall has been captured—[Laughter.]—on board a boat off the coast of Greece. I am happy to be able to assure the House that he is in no personal danger. I cannot say without further consideration whether his capture ought to be regarded as a breach of international courtesy, but I apprehend that under no circumstances could the hon. Member be regarded as contraband of war. [Laughter.] He has been taken to Athens, where he is to be placed at the disposal of Her Majesty's Legation. [Laughter.] In reply to the hon. Member opposite, I have to say that there is every reason to hope that the son will receive the same clemency as is about to be bestowed on the father. [Laughter.]