§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
, having postponed a Question addressed to the Chief Secretary as to the alleged intimidation to which the grand jurors at the last Galway summer assizes were subjected.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
rose to a point of order. He said that the hon. Member's Question had been on the Paper for several days in a different form from that in which it now appeared. Originally it contained a specific charge of the gravest character against a Member of the House, who was mentioned by name. 1143 Now that charge had been struck out of the Question. He wished to know who was responsible for allowing the Order Paper to be made a medium for circulating a gross libel on an hon. Member; and whether it was in order to refer to an hon. Member by name even in a Question.
§ MR. SPEAKER
In this case, as soon as my attention was called to the imputation contained in the Question, I had the words struck out. I am asked who is responsible for circulating the Question in that form. The hon. Member who puts the Question in that form is responsible. The clerks at the Table exercise all the vigilance they can, but sometimes irregularities escape their notice. As soon as my attention is called to the fact, I take steps to have a correction made.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
asked whether there was any case in which a Member of the House had been named in a Question.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I have seen sometimes the names of hon. Members given and sometimes their constituencies. I think for the future it would be better if hon. Members are referred to in Questions that the reference should be the same as in debates.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
Would it be in order for me to ask the Chief Secretary to answer this Question? It was a scandalous thing to put a Question of this sort on the Paper, leave it there for nearly a week, and then postpone it.
I do not think the information in my possession is sufficient to enable me to answer the Question completely.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Croydon)
May I ask whether the ruling of the Speaker is that if any Member of the House is concerned in any proceedings which are contrary to the law no Question can be asked in the House with regard to him, although it might be asked with regard to 1144 other persons who have participated in those proceedings?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I do not go so far as that. An imputation was east upon an hon. Member in this case, but there was no direct charge. The Question, so far as I remember, suggested that it was in consequence of something which had been said by an hon. Member that I certain other things took place. It was an implied charge, not a direct one. If there were any case of a direct charge against an hon. Member it would be desirable to direct the attention of the House specifically to it.