HC Deb 15 April 1839 vol 47 cc2-4
Mr. Crawford

begged to intimate that on the first occasion which presented itself, he should ask the consideration of the House upon the circumstance of three hon. Members of that House having been compelled by the personal mandate of the Sergeant-at-Arms to withdraw from the House on Friday evening, just previous to a division.

Sir R. H. Inglis

said, that in justice to the Sergeant-at-Arms, independent of the principle that questions of privilege of this kind ought to be discussed upon being brought before the House, he felt that after what the hon. Gentleman had stated, it would be most fitting that he should complete his statement on the present occasion.

The Speaker

said, that the hon. Member for the University of Oxford had relieved him from a difficulty in which he had been placed by the statement of the hon. Member for London. After what that hon. Baronet had said, he (the Speaker) was ready to affirm, and take upon himself the entire responsibility of having ordered the hon. Gentleman in question to withdraw.

Mr. Crawford

would bow with all deference to the decision of the Speaker. He was not aware that any reference had been made to the right hon. Gentleman on the subject, or he should not have thought of bringing the matter before the House.

The Speaker

said, that the circumstances under which the exclusion of the hon. Members took place were briefly these. There happened to be a thin attendance of Members at the point of time in question, and he was consequently able to have a clear view of the door. Upon that occasion, just before putting the question, he looked to the door, and saw it was closed. While putting the question he saw the door forced open, and three Members enter the House. Upon this he ordered the door to be closed, and the three Members to withdraw. Immediately after-wards, on perceiving that these Gentlemen had found means to obtain access to the House, he sent for the Sergeant-at Arms, and asked in what way they had obtained admission. The Sergeant stated that he had closed the door, and was holding it closed with the assistance of a messenger, and that the only reason why the door had not been locked as soon as on ordinary occasions was, that he had met with an accident, which prevented him from locking the door as readily as was desirable, but that the door was actually closed at the time the hon. Gentleman came up to it.

Mr. Crawford

could state upon his honour that the door was partially open when he came up to it.

Mr. Humphery

said, that the door was half open when he came in. When he got to the door the Sergeant-at-Arms had not shut it, and there were three or four other Gentlemen, besides himself, who would have got in provided the door had not been locked.

Mr. R. Steuart

said, that the door was closed, and the question half put, before the hon. Gentleman entered the House. The door was forced open at the moment the Sergeant was endeavouring to lock it.

Mr. Godson

said, that he was one of the Members in question, and at the time he entered the door he was quite unaware of the question being put; nor was he aware that any officer of the House was entitled to use violence towards a Member of the House. He was relieved at finding that the circumstance was one which took place under the responsibility of the right hon. Gentleman.

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