§ Mr. HARDIE
I understand that, during my temporary absence from the House, some statement was made regarding what I was supposed to have said during the Debate on the British Empire Exhibition. I did not hear the charge made against me, but I have no recollection of saying anything that connected any Member of this House with what I am supposed to be charged with, whether it was thought to be libel or slander or anything of that kind. I am quite prepared to leave the matter to the OFFICIAL REPORT and to stand by that; but if anyone thinks that there was slander or libel on any Member, he is mistaken. Those who know me best know that I am direct. I do not go roundabout ways to tell people what I think of them. So far as the Debate to-night was concerned, I was asking the hon. Member in charge of the Debate who were coming forward to share the responsibility as well as the guarantors. I asked, for instance, about the people who had contracts for the buildings, and I turned round and said: "If the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) had been present, he would have told us, something about it," but so far as linking him up with it is concerned, I deny it. I made no such statement. I am not guilty. I am surprised that the hon. Member who made the charge, when I had been in the House since a quarter to three o'clock, did not make certain that I was in the House when he made that charge.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
I should be very sorry to misrepresent anything the hon. Member said, but I am sure he will admit that he said, in connection with the transfer of money, that he could not explain that outside the House; he would not dare do 846 so. I think I am in the recollection of hon. Members of the House that he said that. Without explaining in what way he connected my right hon. Friend with Wembley, he immediately, after making that statement, turned round and said he regretted the right hon. Gentleman's absence. That was an insinuation that I think I was perfectly justified in resenting.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I turned round to say that if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs had been present, he could have given us the information direct. We were putting questions to the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Estimate who was not sufficiently acquainted with the exhibition. I hope no hon. Member thinks I was casting aspersions on the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. I ask hon. Members to believe that I was not in any way casting aspersions. If the hon. Member for Anglesey (Sir R. Thomas) feels aggrieved in any way, he can take any redress he likes as far as this House is concerned. I stand by the integrity of the House, and if anyone thinks he is aggrieved at anything I say, I am willing to apologise for what I may have done wrong, although I do not think there is any necessity in this case. If, however, it would make peace, and I were called upon, I would even apologise for anything I was supposed to say, but had not said, if by doing so it would make peace.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I am sure the House will accept the explanation given by the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie). If there was any misinterpretation, it must have boon a slip on the part of the hon. Member. He has given such a complete assurance that he wished to cast no aspersion, that I am sure my right hon. Friend will think nothing more about the matter.
§ Adjourned accordingly at Seventeen Minutes after Eleven o'Clock.