HC Deb 11 May 1881 vol 261 cc217-8

acquainted the House that he had received a letter from Mr. Bradlaugh, returned as one of the Members for the Borough of Northampton, relative to the proceedings of the House in his case, which he read to the House as followeth:—

To the Right Honble.

The Speaker of the House of Commons.

House of Commons Library,

11 May, 1881.


I beg through you to place on record my protest against the Resolution of the House, hindering and preventing me from exercising my statutory right, and from performing my constitutional duty to my constituents. I have been duly returned as one of the Members to represent in the House of Commons the Borough of Northampton. The legality of that Return has been admitted by, and certified to, the House. There is no Petition against my Return, and it is not pretended that I am subject to any legal disqualification. Yet without any precedent in the Journals of the House, and in absolute defiance of the Statute, the House has thought fit—while recognising me as a duly elected Member—to prevent me by actual physical force from fulfilling the duty imposed upon me by the express words of the Law. The privileges of the House render it impossible for me to submit the question to the decision of a Court of Law. I can only for the moment solemnly protest, in the name of the electors of Northampton, whose rights have been infringed, and whose lawful representative I am. And I beg most respectfully, Sir, that, in such manner as to you may seem fit, you will communicate this protest to the House.

I have the honor to be,


Your most obedient Servant,



With reference, Sir, to the letter you have just read, I wish to ask whether it will be competent for any hon. Member to move that it be taken into consideration on a future day; and, if such Motion may be made, whether it would be a question of Privilege, and taken at half-past 4 o'clock on whatever day may be fixed for the Motion?


The letter of Mr. Bradlaugh will appear in the Votes, and will be in the hands of Members tomorrow morning. It will be competent for any hon. Member to give Notice that the letter be taken into consideration on a future day, when it may be brought forward as a question of Privilege.

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