HL Deb 22 May 1843 vol 69 cc676-7
Lord Cottenham

rose to move the second reading of a bill which had become necessary in consequence of the alterations which had taken place in the law with respect to prisoners in confinement for debt in the Queen's Bench, more particularly those who were now in the enjoyment of that permissive liberty granted by the Marshal of the prison usually called the Rules of the Queen's Bench. It had been determined by the bill of last Session, that prisoners for debt of all descriptions should, after the expiration of a certain period, be compelled to come within the walls of the prison. It had been since represented that, as those persons paid to the marshal a sum of money for that privilege whilst in confinement, they ought to be on that account, exempt from that regulation of the bill passed last Session. The object of the bill which he now proposed should be read a second time was to provide for that case, and to give the marshal of the Queen's Bench Prison a power to continue, notwithstanding the bill of last year, the rules to prisoners during their imprisonment for the said debt. It was his intention, after moving that the bill be read a second time, should that motion be successful, to move that it be committed, for the purpose of negativing that motion, and passing on to the third reading of the bill; as there was a possibility this regulation of the act alluded to might come into operation before this bill could receive the Royal Assent.

The Lord Chancellor

had no objection to the bill, provided he was assured by his noble and learned Friend, that the bill was so framed that those persons detained in prison for debt, and enjoying the rules, were left in precisely the same situation with respect to the rules that they were in prior to the passing of the last act of Parliament. The privilege of the rules had always been granted subject to the discretion of the marshal, who had a power at any time to withdraw the rules without assigning a reason. Although the regulation respecting granting the rules might be in many instances reprehensible and absurd, he could not see any good reasons why those who had procured the rules, and paid for them, should not be suffered to enjoy them.

Bill read a second time, motion for committee negatived, bill to be read a third time on the following day.