HC Deb 21 March 1912 vol 35 c2057

asked the Attorney-General whether the recent arrest of Mr. Tom Mann is due to his connection with certain treasonable articles in the "Syndicalist"; and whether he intends to take steps against Mr. Quelch for incitement to mutiny in the columns of "Justice"?

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)

I stated yesterday the nature of the charge against Mr. Tom Mann—it has no reference to any political opinions he may have advocated in articles in the "Syndicalist," but is confined to the charge of inciting soldiers to mutiny in the "Open Letter to Soldiers." I have already answered the latter part of the question in the negative. I have stated that the present prosecution is confined to those who have taken part, according to the evidence before me, in the publication of the "Syndicalist" containing the original letter. With the object of preventing the repetition of such statements I am very anxious to make plain that the offence of incitement to mutiny is a very grave one; renders a person convicted of this offence liable to very severe punishment, and if the attempt succeeded in inducing a soldier to refuse to obey the orders of his officer, that soldier would render himself amenable to most severe punishment, and in my view the soldier is entitled to the protection of the State against such attempts.


May I ask, in view of the belief prevailing that Members of this House were guilty of treasonable suggestions and incitements to breaches of the peace, whether time can be afforded for a discussion of this matter?


I do not know to what persons the hon. Member refers.


Has the person named in the question ever threatened to form a provisional government to supplant the Government of the Kingdom?