I beg to move:That the speech of the hon. Member for the Kirkdale Division of Lancashire, reported in the 'Manchester Guardian' newspaper in Monday, 28th July, 1930, is a gross libel. upon honourable Members of this Mouse and is a grave breach of its Privileges.In rising to call Attention to this matter of Privilege, I ought to say at the outset that, in accordance with the usual custom of the House, I have given notice to the hon. Member who is concerned of my intention to raise it this day. The House will appreciate that it is necessary for me, under the Rules of the House, to move my Resolution to-day, but, in the event of the hon. Member not being present, then, in accordance with the usual custom, the Leader of the House can move to adjourn the debate. I propose to use the very minimum of words in recommending this Resolution to the House. My first duty is to quote the words which I claim are a gross breach of Privilege. The paper from which I quote is the "Manchester Guardian" of to-day:Mr. E. Sandham, M.P. addressing the half-yearly conference in Manchester on Saturday of the Number 9 Divisional Council of the Independent Labour Party, of which he is the chairman, made some remarkable charges against Labour Members of Parliament, in the course of a reference to the recent Mace incident in the House of Commons.The sheer, stupid tradition of this ghost-house"—be proceeded—has got most of the Members in its deadly grip. Labour Members can receive bribes to help to pass doubtful Bills in the interests of private individuals; Labour Members can get stupidly drunk in this place; but none of these things are against the sacred traditions of the House; in fact, they are in keeping with them.43It is known that Labour Members accepted money from moneylenders and other interests, and it is known that Labour Members of Parliament get drunk in the House. Our leaders see nothing wrong in that, or, at any rate, such conduct is not bad enough to create a demand for their expulsion.Then the hon. Member goes on to refer to an incident which occurred a week or 10 days ago. It is quite obvious that the gross charge made in this statement is that of bribery. The House has never allowed one of its Members, or anyone outside, to make such a charge, and, as I state in the words of my Motion, I believe the charge made constitutes a gross libel. I think that belief is shared by all of us in whatever part of the House we may sit. It is really unnecessary for me to say anything more except to intimate, through the usual channels, that the Leader of the House will probably move an Amendment to my Resolution to refer this matter to the Committee of Privileges. So far as I am concerned, I have no objection to such a course.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I beg to move. "That the Debate be now adjourned."
As the hon. Member for Kirkdale (Mr. Sandham) is not present, and in order
§ to give him an opportunity of being present as he ought to be, I think it is right that I should move "That the Debate be now adjourned."
§ Sir WILLIAM MITCHELL-THOMSON
Is it not in accordance with the usual practice that you, Mr. Speaker, should cause a direction to reach the hon. Member for Kirkdale (Mr. Sandham) to attend in his place to-morrow?
§ Debate to be resumed To-morrow.