HC Deb 11 June 1841 vol 58 cc1460-2
Sir George Grey

moved the Order of the Day for the third reading of the School Sites Bill (No. 2.)

Mr. Freshfield

did not mean to oppose the order of the day, but begged to avail himself of that opportunity of calling the attention of the House to a subject that he deemed of some importance to the general business transacted within these walls. He observed on the paper a notice given by the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Ward), "to move, before the orders of the day, 1. That a Committee of the House of Commons having reported, that the hon. Henry Thomas Manners Sutton was, by his agents, guilty of bribery and treating at the election for the borough of Cambridge,' Mr. Attorney-general be directed to prosecute William Swan and Samuel Long, the principal agents of the hon. Henry Thomas Manners Sutton for bribery. 2. That Mr. Attorney-general be also directed to prosecute the hon. Henry Thomas Manners Sutton for bribery at the election for the borough of Cambridge," The hon. Member for Sheffield had, no doubt, given this notice under a supposition, that the matter to which it referred was a matter of privilege. He, however, contended, that it was not a matter of privilege, and, consequently, that it could have no claim whatever to take precedence of the orders of the day. It did not relate to the conduct of any Member of the House, nor was it a matter of such, recent occurrence as could in any degree tend to obstruct the functions of the House therefore it could not be regarded as a, matter of such urgent necessity as to entitle it to the precedence which the hon. Member for Sheffield sought to obtain for it. Perhaps Mr. Speaker would favour the House with his opinion as to whether it could be regarded as matter of privilege or not.

Mr. Ward

had only one fault to find with the objection of the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, and that was, that it was not made at the time that the notice was given. He contended, that this case of the Cambridge election which he now sought to bring forward, was exactly analogous to the case of the St. Alban's election, brought forward and discussed the other evening as a matter of privilege by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Williams Wynn). There was no pretence for saying that any objection that would be good against the one would not be equally good against the other. In the St. Alban's case, the transaction was a by-gone transaction, quite as much as the transaction in the Cambridge case. He (Mr. Ward), therefore, submitted to the House that the two eases stood in precisely the same position; and if Mr. Speaker should decide upon the question of privilege, that the one was as doubtful as the other was represented to be, he (Mr. Ward) should still put it to the House, whether, in fairness and justice, after the discussion of the other night, he could be denied the opportunity of submitting the motion of which he had given notice.

Mr. Freshfield

thought, that there was no parallel between the two cases of St. Alban's and Cambridge; the one was a recent, the other a remote transaction.

Sir E. Sugden

also thought, that there was an essential distinction between the two cases, and that the motion of the hon. Member for Sheffield could claim no precedence as a matter of privilege. He hoped, however, that his hon. Friend would not persist in his objection, but allow the hon. Gentleman the same indulgence as was conceded a few evenings ago to the right hon. Member for Montgomeryshire.

The Speaker,

having been asked for his opinion as to whether the motion of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Ward) could come on as a matter of privilege, had no hesitation in declaring, that the subject was in no way a matter of privilege. The hon. Member had given notice that he would move it before the orders of the day. If the House did not interfere to prevent it, there could be no objection to his taking that course; but the hon. Member had no claim to precedence on the ground of privilege. With respect to the motion brought forward the other evening by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Mont- gomeryshire (Mr. W. Wynn), if that motion had been objected to, and the question put to him (the Speaker) as to whether it could be brought forward as a matter of privilege, he (the Speaker) should certainly have had great doubt upon the point. He did not think that it could have been brought on strictly as a matter of privilege. It had, however, been the general, though not the uniform custom of the House, to give precedence to matters growing out of Section committees.

Mr. Ward

felt, then, that he must throw himself entirely upon the kindness of the House. He asked whether, in common justice, after the motion of the other night, the House could now refuse him the opportunity of bringing forward the subject of the Cambridge election.

Bill read a third time and passed.

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