§ MR. G. A. HARDY (Suffolk, Stowmarket)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that a lady of eighty-three years of age is at present imprisoned for non-payment of education rate, and that she is one of 200 persons who have been imprisoned because of their conscientious objection to pay this rate; and will he consider whether any action can be taken to stay sentences of imprisonment pending the announcement of the Government financial proposals respecting the Education Bill shortly to be introduced.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) I have not heard of the particular case referred to in the Question, but I may say 615 generally that I have no power to intervene in the proceedings for the enforcement of the payment of rates. The matter is one of legal process, not within the province of the executive Government, and not subject to interference under the prerogative of the Crown. But I cannot help hoping that the sense of grievance may be mitigated or removed by the knowledge that the Government have undertaken to amend the Education Act this session.