§ MR. LABOUCHERE
With your permission, Sir, I wish to put a question which I have already submitted to you. Referring to the fact that Mr. Bradlaugh is ready, in compliance with No. 26 of the Rules and Orders of this House, to produce to the Clerk of this House the certificate of his return as the new Member for the borough of Northampton, and to the fact that the return has been certified by the Clerk of the Crown; and also referring to the fact that two Members—the Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt) and the senior Member for Northampton—are ready to introduce Mr. Bradlaugh to the Table, in accordance with the Resolution of the 23rd of February, 1688–1 wish to ask you, Sir, whether the Resolution of the 6th of March forbids Mr. Bradlaugh and his introducers from coming to the Table for the purpose of claiming his seat for Northampton according to law; and to ask whether, as Mr. Bradlaugh is forbidden to take the Oath of Allegiance, you will inform me how he is to proceed to perform his duty to his and my constituents, by sitting and voting in this House?
§ MR. SPEAKER
In reply to the first question of the hon. Member, I have to state that I have no hesitation in saying that, in my judgment, in view of the Resolution agreed to by the House yesterday, that Mr. Bradlaugh be not permitted to go through the form of taking the Oath of Allegiance prescribed by law, it would be irregular and disorderly for the two hon. Members referred to to introduce him to the House and conduct him to the Table for the purpose of his taking the Oath. I may add that it is a well-known Rule of this House that no hon. Member is to come to the Table to be sworn until he has been called upon to do so by the Speaker; and, having regard to the Resolution of yesterday, I consider myself bound not to call upon the hon. Member for Northampton to come to the Table to be sworn. As regards the second question put to me by the hon. Member, I have only to point out that it forms no part of my duty to advise hon. Members as to the course which they should pursue in asserting their title to take their seats.