HC Deb 23 June 1890 vol 345 cc1663-4

I beg to ask the Homo Secretary whether he is aware that a meeting intended to be held in opposition to the Local Taxation Bill in the Market Place, Northampton, on Sunday, was prohibited by the Borough Magistrates on Saturday; whether the Magistrates have any right to prohibit a meeting of law-abiding citizens; and whether there is any special penalty attaching to any one attending such a meeting after this prohibition?


I am afraid the question involves some difficult points of law, and I must have notice before giving a full answer. I assume that the Magistrates had reasonable ground for anticipating that there would be a breach of the peace or some disorder.


With reference to the answer just given, I will ask whether the Queen's Bench Division has not positively decided that Magistrates have no authority whatever to prohibit a meeting which seems likely to endanger the public peace; and whether this is not laid down in every recent text-book?


I have to ask whether the disorder anticipated at Northampton was anticipated to come from the promoters of the meeting or from the supporters of the Government?