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Vicar Assailed for Asking Jewish Member of Commons to Raise Question Involving Church

The Committee of Privileges of the House of Commons began an investigation today to ascertain whether a breach of privilege–interference with a member of Parliament in the exercise of his duties–had been committed in the dispatch of a letter denouncing S.S. Silverman, a Commons member of the Jewish faith, for having raised a question in the House involving a Church of England minister.

The letter, headed “Clan Criton,” was addressed to a Kent vicar who had asked Mr. Silverman to raise a question of privilege in the House. The letter assailed the vicar for having selected a Jew, describing Mr. Silverman as “no Christian, no Briton and certainly not patriotic British subject interested in the Church of England or its ministers.”

The letter was accompanied by a document attacking the role of Jews in British public life. Mr. Silverman presented the letter and the enclosure to the House, and the Speaker ruled there was prima facie evidence of breach of privilege.