§ MR. STOREY (Sunderland)
I am extremely sorry to obtrude a personal matter upon the House again, but I have consulted you, Sir, and with your leave I wish to make a brief explanation. In another place the Marquess of Londonderry made a few days ago an allusion to a statement which I felt it my duty to make in this House. Of course, I do not intend to discuss the remarks of Lord Londonderry. I have no right and no inclination to do so. That statement stands for what it is worth. The noble Lord, however, made one observation in reply to my statement which I am compelled to notice. I had myself stated that the money for the bogus prosecution against me was not taken, or meant to be taken, out of the public funds, as it ought to have been if it were an honest prosecution. I stated, further, that Lord Londonderry must have found the money. To these statements, under cover of a joke and a play upon my name which is not particularly original, and which if it had been uttered here would have been thought a trifle vulgar, that noble Lord gives a distinct contradiction. I therefore, propose, with the permission of the House, to state, with the utmost brevity, the authority upon which I made them. On the 29th of May or thereabouts, there was a meeting of the Joint Committee of the Durham County Council, who have charge of the police. The Clerk of the Peace reported that an 943 application had been made for money to defend the civil actions for damages brought against the police, and that demand was acceded to. Thereupon a member of the Joint Committee said to the Clerk of the Peace, "Where did the money come from for the summons cases?" and the Clerk of the Peace replied, "I do not know; we have no application about them." The member then said, "What I should like to know is, who found the money in the summons cases—Mr. Storey's and the others?" On this Colonel White, the Chief Constable of the county, said, "The colliery owner found the money." Upon which Mr. Briggs, the Magistrate who has been sufficiently prominent in these transactions, touched Colonel White upon the arm, and whispered something to him which my friends could not hear. But the effect of it was that Colonel White said, "Yes; I don't care; the owners did, and they paid Strachan, the counsel's, fees." That is what passed on the 29th May. In the early days of June a Magistrate of the county, who is also a Member of this House, wrote to Colonel White and asked, "Have you authorised this charge against Mr. Storey?" and "Are the county funds being used for the purpose?" In his reply Colonel White said, "Mr. Storey has taken much pains to instigate a civil action against the police for damages," and he concluded, "The costs of counsel in the summons case were defrayed by the colliery owner, but the County Authorities have decided to pay the expenses and damages arising out of the baton charge." I do not know whether Lord Londonderry has any knowledge of the fact or not; I do not know whether Lord Londonderry or Colonel White is speaking the fact; but I think it due to the House to state the authority on which I made my statement. I do not suppose this money will now be paid by the colliery owner, or in any way of which I can take legal hold; but, attaching belief to the utterances in May and June of a person who ought to have known the facts, I must say I cannot accept Lord Londonderry's disclaimer as either accurate or sufficient.