HC Deb 15 February 1927 vol 202 cc761-2

With the leave of the House, I desire to make a personal statement. In an irrelevant and inaccurate answer to a question I asked the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas), in the course of his speech last night, he said: At any rate, it was the time when my hon. Friend was an Independent Labour Party organiser."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th February, 1927; col. 608, Vol. 202.] This statement is entirely without foundation, for at no time, in any way, have I been guilty of the folly of being connected with any branch of the Labour party.


Order, order! A personal statement must be entirely without any controversial matter.


I apologise for the words additional to those which I had originally prepared, but I was a little provoked. I am informed that the statement was based on an extract from the biographies of Conservative Members of Parliament which are kept at the headquarters of the Labour party, and, therefore, if the statement is not contradicted in the most unqualified way, it may be repeated under circumstances when it might be politically disadvantageous to myself. I am in the happy position of being able to establish a complete alibi against the grave charge of being a Socialist by means of news cuttings, which I have with me here, showing a continuous record of work for the Conservative party from the time I was an undergraduate at the University of Liverpool. Furthermore, the alibi could also be established by the personal testimony of present Members of the House of Commons. In these circumstances. I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will withdraw his statement without any qualification whatsoever.


I make no comment, and leave it to the House, certainly to Members who have heard personal explanations before, to compare the opening sentences of the hon. Member on this occasion. I have only to say, that if I did the hon. Member an injustice, I withdraw it. I had certainly no desire to associate him with an organisation whose work and record need no apology in this House. If he feels that it did him an injustice, I have no hesitation in saying I withdraw it.