HC Deb 15 May 1905 vol 146 cc303-5

said he desired to make a personal explanation as to what had occurred in relation to the proclaimed meeting in his constituency. On the 7th inst., when he was addressing his constituents, the district inspector ordered the police to drag him down immediately. Two of them, acting on the orders of the district inspector, caught him, one on each side, and dragged him to the road. Not satisfied with that, they dragged him along the road for at least fifty yards or more. He repeatedly asked them to let him go and not drag him in that manner, and he demanded what authority they had for doing so. He called for the county inspector and asked him what right these people had to insult him in this fashion and drag him about, and he requested him to direct them to let go of him. The county inspector did direct them, and they immediately let go of him. After that incident the proclamation was served upon him, and naturally in the circumstances he gave vent to his feelings and tore it up. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that he had read the account of these proceedings in the Press. He challenged him to stand up there and deny that in that report the statement was made that the hon. Member for the Division had been assaulted by the police. [At this stage there were loud NATIONALIST cries of "Long."]


On a point of order, Sir, the House having listened to the personal explanation of the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, are we not entitled to hear the personal explanation of the Chief Secretary on the new situation created by the hon. Member's statement?


There can be no debate or Answer upon a personal explanation. By the leave of the House the hon. Member made a personal explanation, and the House accepts it. It would be a most improper thing to contradict the hon. Member.


Somebody is a liar. Who is it?


That is a most improper observation.


On the point of order, Sir, when a Minister or any Member of the House makes a personal statement in reference to any hon. Member, and when that hon. Member of his own knowledge contradicts that statement, is it not customary in this House for the Gentleman who originally made the statement to withdraw?


I have no recollection of a personal explanation being debated or contradicted in any way. [An HON. MEMBER: Accepted.] The House at once accepts the explanation made by the hon. Member.


On a point of order, Sir, I understand that you would not refuse to the right hon. Gentleman the right to make a personal explanation if he should desire to do so, and if the House did not desire to put any impediment in his way.


If the right hon. Gentleman is anxious also to make a personal explanation, and the House is ready to listen to him, of course I shall not interfere. All that I am concerned to do, as for the moment the guardian of the rules of the House, is to protect the House against a debate being raised.


There is no personal explanation to be made, so far as I am concerned. In answer to the Question, I stated the information I had received, which included a statement that no personal violence had been used. The hon. Gentleman has made his statement, which, of course, I accept, as everybody else accepts in this House any statement made by an hon. Member on a matter in his own personal knowledge. In reference to the hon. Member's Question to me as to what appeared in the Press, I think he misunderstood me. I only referred to a quotation which appeared in the newspapers, and in regard to the general account that I gave, I gave what I had received from the police, who were responsible for what took place. I submit to the House that I have no personal explanation to make.