HC Deb 08 July 1880 vol 253 cc1896-7

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, considering that the Government have declined to introduce a Bill to amend the Law so as to remove doubts as to the legality of the affirmation taken by the junior Member for Northampton, Her Majesty's Government will, as an act of justice to the honourable Member and his constituents, instruct the Law Officers of the Crown to undertake his defence in any suit brought against him to test the validity of his affirmation?


wished, before the Question was answered, to ask the Prime Minister whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to adopt the course which had been suggested by certain of the admirers of the junior Member for Northampton—namely, to remit all penalties that may be incurred by that Member; or if the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to state that the Government would allow the law to take its course?


No application has been made to Her Majesty's Government by any admirer of the junior Member for Northampton with regard to the remission of penalties; and, therefore, I will pass by the Question of the hon. Member for Louth. My answer to the Question of the hon. Member for Hull (Mr. Norwood) must be in the negative. We consider that any return of a Member made by any constituency of this country must necessarily be made, and understood by them to be made, subject to the conditions of the existing law. To ascertain the application of those conditions in any particular case is no part of the duty of the nation at largo, or of the Government. With respect to any questions as to the alteration of the law, that is not to be considered with regard to the case or claim of the particular individual, but on the grounds of general policy, on which it will have to be decided by the House.


asked the indulgence of the House to be allowed to say that the Question which had been put was made without any communication with himself. He had no doubt as to the legality of the Affirmation which he had made; and he had had no communication whatever, directly or indirectly, with the Government on the subject.