HL Deb 27 January 1818 vol 37 cc4-5

The House being resumed, the earl of Liverpool, according to usage, presented a Bill for the better regulation of Select Vestries, which he moved should be read a first time.

Lord Holland

said, he did not rise to object to the Bill, of which on the contrary, he approved, but to state that he had intended to save the noble earl the trouble of introducing this bill according to usage, by himself presenting a bill of the utmost importance, for the purpose of restoring the liberties of the people, which had been outraged by the passing of a bill for the suspension of that great bulwark of the constitution, the Habeas Corpus. Satisfied that not a moment ought to be lost in restoring those invaluable privileges to Englishmen, of which they had thus been deprived, he had prepared a bill, which he then held in his hand, for the repeal of the act for suspending the benefits of the Habeas Corpus. He had, however, been induced, for two reasons, to refrain from presenting the bill on this day; the first was, the possibility that ministers themselves might be induced to repair the wrong they had done, and thus to bring forward a bill for repealing the act to which he had alluded, and which they could not now pretend was any longer necessary; the second reason arose out of the melancholy event that had so unhappily occurred, and respecting which he was satisfied there was but one opinion amongst all men, either in that House or in the country; he did not wish to interrupt that condolence which it became their distressing duty to offer upon so calamitous an occasion; and therefore he was induced to postpone his intention. He, however, was decidedly of opinion, that no time ought to be lost in bringing forward the bill to which he had alluded; and as, in passing the act for suspending the Habeas Corpus, the ordinary forms of the House were dispensed with, so ought they to be with regard to a bill for the repeal of that act. He now wished to ask, whether it was the intention of any noble lord on the other side to bring forward a bill for the repeal of the Habeas Corpus Suspension act, and whether, in such case, it was intended to move to suspend the standing orders, to allow of such a bill passing with more rapidity than usual, as had been done in the case of the act sought to be repealed? If no such intention was intimated, some noble lord near him, or if not, he himself would, without delay, introduce a bill for the repeal of the act alluded to.

The Earl of Liverpool

said, that if the noble lord had waited till the discussion on the Address was over, instead of making what he could not but consider an irregular speech, he would have heard a noble friend of his, to whose department this business especially referred, give notice of his intention to present a bill for the repeal of the act commonly called the Habeas Corpus Suspension act, and also to move to take the standing orders into consideration to-morrow, with the view of suspending them, in order to pass the Repeal Bill without any delay, as in the case of the original act.