§ MR. McKENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the settlement of the action against Major C. W, Studdert by a money payment was made with the consent of the prosecution; if so, whether such consent was given with the sanction of His Majesty's Government; whether the Papers in this case were laid before the Court of Inquiry-appointed to inquire into the action of the Remount Department; and whether he will cause the Papers to be published.
The following Questions on the same subject also appeared on the Paper—
§ MR. HARRIS (Tynemouth)
To ask the Secretary of State for War, having regard to the fact that the Solicitor General for Ireland, in consideration of a payment of £2,000 and certain costs, has agreed to abandon further legal proceedings against Major C. W. Studdert and others for fraudulent breach of contract in connection with the purchase of remounts, will he say what was the sum that Major Studdert was estimated to have fraudulently received; and whether the War Office gave its consent to this settlement.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
To ask the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he will state the reason for terminating the proceedings in the action by the War Office for breach of contract, in reference to the purchase of horses in Ireland, after the hearing of the evidence of the Inspector General of Remounts and other War Office witnesses; and whether any further proceedings are contemplated by Government.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
My right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War promised to undertake this.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I must ask the hon. Member for South Donegal not to interrupt the business, and not to make remarks when there is no business before the House.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
I was very-wrong, but I was only calling the attention of the public, Sir, to the way Ministers behave themselves.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
There is an orderly and a disorderly way of doing that, and the hon. Member too frequently adopts the disorderly method.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK, Surrey, Guild-ford),
having now entered the House, said, I regret to say that I have not yet received a full Report from the Solicitor General on this case, and, therefore, it is not possible for mo to give an opinion upon it. The case only deals with the question of damages in connection with 323 horses, and the War Office is only responsible for following the advice of their legal adviser in regard to the termination of the action. I am not prepared to enter upon any of the subsidiary questions which have been asked, but I have no reason to suppose that any pledge has been given that will be a bar to any further proceedings.
§ MR. BRODRICK
No, Sir; certainly not. I have no power to interfere with any proceedings of the Court of Inquiry. It takes its own action and calls its own witnesses, and I have no right to make any inquiry.