§ LORD ISLINGTON
My Lords, it is with feelings of concern that I address the House to offer an apology to your Lordships and to make an explanation for a vote that I recorded last week on the Home Rule Bill prior to my having taken the oath of allegiance in this House. I desire to say that this violation of the procedure of the House was carried out by me, it is needless to say, with no feeling of disrespect to your Lordships' House, but through, I am afraid, a lack of knowledge of the strict procedure of the House. I know now, what I did not know before, that it is necessary at the commencement of each Parliament for noble Lords to take the oath of allegiance. Having been absent from England during the last three years, and during that absence lowing omitted to notice the regulation which is, I believe, issued to all new members of this House, I was under the impression that the oath of allegiance that I had taken prior to my departure abroad would suffice, and that it was not necessary for me to take a fresh oath at the beginning of the new Parliament. This, my Lords, is the explanation of my conduct last week. I can only offer an ample apology to your Lordships, and I must leave it to the discretion of the House as to what action you may think fit to take.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I have no doubt that your Lordships will accept unreservedly the statement which has just been made by the noble Lord to the effect that the irregular part which he took in our proceedings was due entirely to inadvertence on his part. Indeed, most of us feel that the particular circumstances of the noble Lord's case in a way explain the omission of which he was guilty. What steps are necessary and whether any steps are necessary in order to correct upon the records of your Lordships' House the irregularity which has taken place, I really do not know. I was not aware that the noble Lord was 1282 going to make a statement, and I have had no opportunity of looking into the technicalities of the case.
THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (THE MARQUESS OF CREWE)
My Lords, I am in the same position as the noble Marquess, not having known that my noble friend behind me was about to present his apologia to the House. Noble Lords, no doubt, will remember that some years ago a noble Lord, also sitting on this side of the House, was guilty of a similar offence, only in what was considered a more flagrant form; and as the result of that performance of my noble friend a Committee was appointed which dealt with that matter, and also with other kindred matters relating to the order of your Lordships' House. Perhaps the noble Marquess and I might consult together with the officers of the House as to what the proper form should be for indemnifying my noble friend, as I gather that that is the desire of the House generally, for the consequences of his rash action.