HC Deb 03 May 1883 vol 278 cc1709-10

asked Mr Attorney General, Whether, in the event of the Parliamentary Oaths Act (1866) Amendment Bill becoming Law in its present shape, it will be competent for Mr. Bradlaugh to take the Parliamentary Oath, should he elect to do so, in preference to making an Affirmation?


Sir, the answer I have to give to the hon. Member must depend upon the solution of a preliminary question to be determined by him and his Friends rather than by me. I understand the hon. Member for Exeter and those who agree with him to contend that Mr. Bradlaugh is disqualified from taking the Oath, and, in fact, that he cannot legally do so. If this be so—and I wish to lay stress upon the condition— Mr. Bradlaugh will not by means of the provisions of this Bill obtain any greater power to take the Oath than he now possesses. On the other hand, if he is now entitled—as many think—to take the Oath, he will under this Bill be entitled to substitute an Affirmation for the Oath.