Parliamentary Debate On Sir Robert Anderson

Posted: November 21, 2009 in Other Ripper Research

SIR ROBERT ANDERSON AND "THE TIMES" ARTICLES.

HC Deb 19 April 1910 vol 16 cc1867-70

§ Mr. MacVEAGH

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the revelations published by Sir Robert Anderson with regard to what are generally known as the Jack the Ripper murders; whether he obtained the sanction of the Home Office or Scotland Yard authorities to such publication; and, if not, whether any and, if so, what steps can be taken with regard to it?

§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Churchill)

Sir Robert Anderson neither asked for nor received any sanction to the publication, but the matter appears to me of minor importance in comparison with others that arise in connection with the same series of articles.

§ Mr. MacVEAGH

Will the right hon. Gentleman state if there is a Home Office Minute in existence expressly prohibiting the publication of documents of this character?

§ Mr. MOORE

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to discourage this daily, petty, vindictive persecution?

§ Mr. CHURCHILL

It is my duty to give all proper information to the House, and I shall certainly continue to give it.

§ Mr. MacVEAGH

asked whether Sir Robert Anderson was at Scotland Yard at the time of Pigott’s escape from England; whether there is any explanation on record as to how he escaped, seeing that he was under the surveillance of two Scotland Yard detectives and one Dublin detective; and whether any official inquiry was ever held into the circumstances of his escape?

§ Mr. CHURCHILL

Sir Robert Anderson was at Scotland Yard at the time of Pigott’s escape, and it was by officers belonging to his Department that Pigott was traced from place to place until finally his arrest was secured in Madrid. Previous to his flight he was not in any way under the surveillance of Scotland Yard officers; he was attended by two officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary, not for the purpose of watching him, but to protect him from molestation. These officers reported his disappearance on the afternoon of 25th February, 1889, and the following day the Commission issued its warrant for his arrest. The warrant was directed to the Commissioner of Police, and thus for the first time brought Scotland Yard into the case, with the result that he was pursued and captured, though at the moment of capture he committed suicide. There was no occasion for any official inquiry, all the facts being notorious.

§ Mr. MacVEAGH

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any record showing why the flight of Pigott was not reported on the night he escaped? I will give the right hon. Gentleman notice of that question.

§ Mr. MOORE

Was this man brought up, born and bred a Nationalist?

§ Mr. HAZLETON

asked whether there are any records at the Home Office to show why, on the 15th June, 1888, both Sir R. Webster, then. Attorney-General, and Mr. Matthews, then Home Secretary, absolutely declined to give any information to the House on the question of whether alleged facts in the possession of the Government regarding Irish Members of this House had been communicated to "The Times "?

§ Mr. CHURCHILL

There is no record of anything bearing on this question.

§ Mr. MacVEAGH

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he can state if Mr. Joyce, then attached to the Criminal Investigation Department in Dublin, was in the employment of "The Times" newspaper before or during the sittings of the Parnell Commission; whether such employment is on the official record; whether any other police officials, Crown solicitors, or resident magistrates received money from the same source; whether Mr. Joyce received any further Government appointment after the termination of his connection with the Criminal Investigation Department; and whether he is in receipt of a pension?

§ Mr. BIRRELL

There is no official record of Mr. Joyce having been in the employment of "The Times" or of any payment to him or other Government officials by that paper. He is now in receipt of a pension from the office of resident magistrate, which he held prior to the Parnell Commission.

§ Mr. HAZLETON

asked the Prime Minister if he will state what steps have been or will be taken to secure that there can be no recurrence of a breach of the rules of the Civil Service similar to that committed by Sir Robert Anderson?

§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

It has not been thought necessary to take any steps to prevent the recurrence of what I hope is a unique breach of the rules referred to in the question.

§ Mr. BRADY

asked whether there is any official record of leave having been given to Captain Malcolm McNeile, R.N., then on the active list, to visit America on behalf of "The Times" newspaper prior to the sittings of the Parnell Commission, or whether his American visits were paid during the period of his usual vacation?

§ The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. McKenna)

There is no record in the official service books of the Admiralty of any visit being paid to America by the officer referred to at any time from the first publication of "The Times" articles to the conclusion of the Parnell Commission.

§ Mr. MacVEAGH

Can the right hon. Gentleman say if there is any record of visits by this officer to America before the sittings of the Parnell Commission?

§ Mr. McKENNA

There was a visit to America at the beginning of the year 1885, but I have not been able to trace any visit subsequent to that date.

§ Mr. MacVEAGH

Does the gentleman himself deny having made this visit before the sittings of the Parnell Commission?

§ Mr. McKENNA

The latest visit I have been able to trace was in January, 1885.

§ Mr. MacVEAGH

What I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman is whether this officer himself has denied having gone to America on behalf of "The Times"?

§ Mr. McKENNA

Of that I am not aware. I do not know.

§ Mr. MacVEAGH

Has he admitted it?

§ Mr. McKENNA

I am not aware of that.

§ Mr. HUGH LAW

asked whether Mr. Home and Mr. Joyce, who were in the employment of "The Times" newspaper before and during the Parnell Special Commission, and who collected and supplied information to that paper through official channels, being at that time resident magistrates in Ireland, are now employed in any branch of the public service; and, if not, if they, or either of them, are in receipt of pensions?

§ Mr. BIRRELL

There is no official record that these officials were ever in the employment of "The Times." They are not now in the public service. Both" are in receipt of pensions.

§ Mr. HUGH LAW

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in reply to a question put by Lord Morley on 18th March, 1889, the present Leader of the Opposition, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, admitted that these gentlemen had collected information by order of the Government, and that this information, so obtained was subsequently supplied by the Government to "The Times"?

§ Mr. MOORE

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will consider the advisability of reprinting the charges which were found proved by the Parnell Commission— [Mr. HAYDEM: "And the verdict."]—as far as they affected Members of this House?

§ Mr. HAYDEN

Let Lord Ashtown do it.

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