HC Deb 15 March 1916 vol 80 cc2081-2
73. Mr. BOOTH

asked the Attorney-General if a weekly paper called "Britannia," edited by Miss Christabel Pankhurst, has been raided and suppressed; whether it is still published regularly; whether he is aware that this organ gives support to the country in the present conflict; and if he will say why the staff are continually persecuted and if the Government attacked the "Britannia" because of its faithful and devoted pleading of the cause of our Allies the Serbians?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Herbert Samuel)

The Attorney-General has asked me to reply to this question. Steps have been taken with regard to this paper, by order of the military authority under the Defence of the Realm Act, and I am informed that it is now only published as a leaflet. The copies I have seen contain statements which are absolutely untrue, and which are calculated to prejudice our relations with our Allies.


Will this paper, "Britannia," which is sent to me regularly by post, be allowed to bring an action against the Government in respect of its suppression?


I should like notice of that question.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that, however misguided some of the statements are, it is a paper loyally attached to this country, and is it to be suppressed because it criticised a member of the Government?


It is ostensibly loyal, but undoubtedly it is most mischievous.


Has my right hon. Friend read the constant attacks which are being made on his colleagues and on officials in the Foreign Office who are unable to defend themselves by this infamous paper?


Yes, I have read many of the attacks. Of course, criticisms on members of the Government are quite legitimate so long as they are based on truth, but many of the statements in question are absolutely false.


Why is the editor of this paper not prosecuted?


Will the right hon. Gentleman, as a member of the Government, refute the gross charges which are brought against Sir Eyre Crowe?


That does not arise out of the question.