HC Deb 15 July 1929 vol 230 cc65-6W

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the imprisonment of John Henry Stevens, of Hauxton, Cambridgeshire, by writ of attachment for contempt of a consistory court sitting recently at Ely Cathedral because he refused to pay money alleged to be owing by him to the Church of England; and whether he will introduce a Bill at an early date to deprive such Church of the power of sitting in judgment in a cause between itself and one of His Majesty's subjects, and especially to take away its power to order the imprisonment of any such person?


The Prime Minister has asked me to reply to this question. The procedure employed in this case is sanctioned by law and practice of long standing, But, though I must not, as at present advised, be taken as accepting the facts and inferences set out in the question, I recognise that the procedure has a strange appearance when put into practice for the first time after a long interval, and I propose when time permits to consider whether the remedy applicable in this class of case is appropriate in modern conditions.