§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Colonel 21 H. Cooper, C.M.G., who held the position of Boer commandant at Cape Town from 1st April, 1900, was present at the dance given at Mount Nelson Hotel on Christmas Eve, 1901, and was at that time resident in the hotel; and that he did not stop the attack made upon Mr. Stanford in the grounds at the back of the hotel; can he state whether Colonel Cooper took any, and if so what, steps to investigate the matter; did he make any, and if so what, report to Lord Kitchener; why was the report of the legal proceedings, in which a sum of £1,500 damages and £2,000 costs were recovered by Mr. Stanford against ten officers in the High Court of Cape Colony, excluded from the Cape papers by the action of the Military Press Censor; why were not the apologies offered by the ten officers involved allowed to appear in the Cape Press owing to the action of the Press Censor; and can he now give any explanation of this occurrence, and of the fact that in August last he had no information whatever about it, and of the steps he intends to take in the matter.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
The Commander-in-Chief has ordered a Court-martial to assemble to try the officers concerned in this case. Very serious charges have been made by Mr. Stanford, and it is desirable that the officers concerned should have the opportunity of clearing their characters. Colonel Cooper was not involved in the assault, nor did he hear anything of it till later—but in view of the proceedings about to be taken, I must ask to be absolved from making any statement at present.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
I will only ask a friendly supplementary. Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last part of the Question?