§ MR. W. P. BYLES (York, W. R., Shipley)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his attention has been drawn to recent prosecutions undertaken by a common informer under the Act of Parliament, 21 George III., c. 49, of certain gentlemen in Leeds engaged in promoting the instruction of the people; whether he has observed the summing up of Mr. Justice Mathew, before whom these actions were tried, and also the rider of the jury that the aforesaid Act ought to be repealed; and, whether he can hold out any hope that the Government would assist in passing a Bill which proposed to modify or repeal the before-named statute, or in any other way to prevent further similar proceedings against the promoters of lectures and music on Sundays?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
I agree with my hon. Friend that it ought not to be possible to institute proceedings of this kind in such a case. In the instance to which he refers, the action happily miscarried. The Government cannot under take to legislate on the subject, but they will look favourably on any well considered proposal for rendering the law more rational and less open to abuse.
§ MR. ASQUITH
The Bill would not be unfavourably looked upon because it came from another place; but I cannot promise that facilities would be given to it.