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Scene in the House of Commons, Issue 7916, 25 May 1889
Scene in the House of Commons
On March 16 there was what London papers describe as an exciting scene in the Hcuse of Commons. The Attorney-General was replying, in committee of the House, to charges made against him by Sir VV. Harcourt in connection with the Pigott letters, and was a good deal interrupted. The chairman had warned one Irish member (Mr Biggar) that if he could not restrain himself he would have to ask him to retire, and a little later another noisy interruption occurred, the Attorney-General being called to order by Parnellites for saying that he left the matter of the charges " not to the judgment of those members below the gangway, but he left it to the judgment of any honorable-minded man in that House."
At this comparison of members there were loud cries of "Order" from the Parnellites, and |"Question" and "Withdraw," and the following is reported as next occurring :
The Chairman: The hon. and learned gentleman is out of order in using that expression.—(Parnellite cheers,) Order, order. I must order the hon. member for South Mayo (Mr T. F. O'Brien) to retire,—(Ministerial cheers and Parnellite cries of "No," and " Don't.") Mr W. Redmond: Don't retire.—(Loud Ministerial cries of " Order," and Parnellite cheers.)
Mr O'Brien : Mr Courtney, I did not open my lips.—(Parnellite cheers.) The Chairman: Order, order. The hon. member for South Mayo has been grossly disorderly, and in fulfilment of the power reposed in me I have to order him to retire. —(Ministerial cheers, and load Parnellite cries of " He said nothing.") Mr O'Brien : Mr Courtney, I did not open my lips.—(Parnellite cheers, and cries of "Don't retire.") The Chairman : Order, order. I order you to retire.—(Cries of " Don't retire.") Mr T. P. O'Connor (excitedly): I rise to a point of order. I wish, sir, to ask you, Mr Courtney, on a point of order, when you charge a member of this House with disorderly conduct by interruption, and when the member so charged pledges his word to you, sir, and to the House, that he has never opened his lips, I wish to ask whether you are going to put that He upon him before the House (loud Ministerial cries of "Order" and " Withdraw ")—and without investigation —(" Order "); and whether, without that member having an opportunity of making out his case, you would hold him guilty of a oharge which he denies ? (Parnellite cheers.)
Mr Pinkerton : I sat beside the hot), member, and I can positively assure you, sir, that the hon. gentleman never opened his lips—(ParnelHte cheers)—or interrupted. —(Renewed ParnelHte cheers.) The Chairman : I will accept the disclaimer—(loud ParnelHte cheers)—if the hon. member for South Mayo will not disclaim having repeatedly interrupted in a very loud voice earlier in the evening, and when I warned him not to repeat his conduct.—(Ministerial cheers.) Mr O'Brien : I must disclaim, Mr Courtney ; the charge you have put on me is a charge which is perfectly unjustifiablo.— (ParnelHte cheers, and Ministerial cries of " Order.") The Chairman : Order, order. I have accepted the disclaimer of the hon. member of general and repeated interruption.— (Cries of " You repeated the charge," followed by cries of J" Order.") Does the hon. gentleman disclaim having interrupted earlier in the evening?—(Ministerial laughter and cries of "Oh !"—Mr O'Brien not at first replying to the question.) Mr O'Brien: I think, Mr Courtney, that you have treated me most unfairly.—(Loud ParnelHte cheers and Ministerial cries of "Order.") After withdrawing the charge you repeated it again, and I say you have acted udjustly in doing so.—(Ministerial cries of "No" and " Name," and ParnelHte cheers.) The Chairman: I think the hon. member can scarcely have understood me.—(Ministerial cheers.) I accepted his disclaimer of having interrupted in a disorderly manner on this occasion ; but I am under the impression that I observed him frequently during this discussion interrupt in a disorderly manner, If he makes a disclaimer of those interruptions I shall accept it, but I do not understand that at present he has disclaimed the previous interruptions.— (Ministerial cheers.) Mr O'Brien: I have not, Mr Courtney, been guilty of any interruption whatever beyond ordinary cheering. (Ministerial laughter and ParnelHte cheers.) The Chairman: I accept that statement. —(Ministerial cheers.)
Scene in the House of Commons, Issue 7916, 25 May 1889
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