HL Deb 05 March 1914 vol 15 cc406-8

My Lords, I desire to say one word by way of explanation. I had not been aware that at the beginning of business to-day the noble Marquess opposite (Lord Salisbury) was about to announce the composition of the Committee which will be appointed by the House to inquire into the charges made against Lord Murray of Elibank. In view of what I stated on behalf of the Government when the matter was before the House on the 19th of February, and in view of various comments on the whole subject which have been made outside, I think it will be required, in justice to my noble friends on this side of the House, and in particular to my noble and learned friend Lord Loreburn, that I should state in what circumstances they have come to give their names as members of the Committee. I propose, therefore, if, as I understand, it is the noble Marquess's intention to move the appointment of the Committee on Monday next, at that time to make the statement to which I have referred.


My Lords, I am exceedingly sorry if I appeared to be wanting in courtesy to the noble Marquess in announcing the names. Of course, I was only acting, may I say, ministerially, and for a much greater man than myself, in giving the notice. The noble Marquess well understands that it is necessary, according to the Orders of your Lordships' House, to give notice, and the only difference would have been that I could have handed the Motion to the Clerk at the Table instead of announcing it publicly. In any case the names would have appeared in the Press to-morrow morning, and the result would have been the same. I quite realised that this was only a preliminary step to what will take place on Monday, when my noble friend Lord Lansdowne, I hope, will be in his place to move the Motion himself.

House adjourned at ten minutes past Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.