§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General whether his attention has been called to placards published by a London paper on 28th February, to the following effect: "Surrender of Botha, Official, Sun"; and whether, as news-vendors are prosecuted for crying false information, he proposes to take any steps against the proprietors of this paper.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (MR. RITCHIE,) Croydon
I have been asked by my hon. and learned friend to answer this question. Newsvendors can only be prosecuted for obtaining, or attempting to obtain, money by false pretences, which is the case when it is proved that they knowingly call out news not contained in the paper they are trying to sell. I am advised that it is not likely that proceedings, if taken against the proprietors for obtaining or attempting to obtain money by false pretences, would be successful in this case. I may add that I have received from the editor of the Sun a letter, in which he expresses his deep regret for the occurrence, and says that—The news came to the Sun on authority which has never before failed us.ֵThe addition of the word 'official' was the result of a stupid misunderstanding among the staff, one of whom is now no longer in the service of the Sun.
§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these "spots" on the Sun are very common in London papers?
§ [No answer was returned.]