HC Deb 09 March 1903 vol 119 cc99-100

A statement which I made on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief on Thursday last has been challenged; and, therefore, I must trouble the House for one moment with a personal explanation. Lord Belhaven has complained, by a letter in the Press, that he was misrepresented by the statement that he called upon Lord Roberts with Lord de Saumarez and made complaints as to certain practices in the Grenadier Guards. Lord Roberts desires me to say that what occurred was as follows:—Lord de Saumarez called on him on 12th December, and called his attention to a series of incidents affecting his relative and other young officers. On completing his statement he asked Lord Roberts to see Lord Belhaven, who had come with him, and who was waiting in the next room in Lord Roberts' house. Lord Roberts asked Lord Belhaven if the practices complained of in the regiment, and the caning of Lord Belhaven's son, were true within his knowledge, and Lord Belhaven corroborated Lord de Saumarez on these points, making a reservation that he did not wish to complain about his son's ill-treatment, as he had accepted Colonel Kinloch's word of honour as to his ignorance of the proceeding, though he (Lord Belhaven) had told Colonel Kinloch, in accepting this statement, that appearances were much against him. Lord Roberts told Lord de Saumarez and Lord Belhaven he should take the matter up officially, and proceeded to do so. Under these circumstances Lord Roberts could only inform me that these statements were brought before him by the two gentlemen named, and he was much astonished at Lord Belhaven's disclaimer in the Press of 7th instant.