HC Deb 25 April 1805 vol 4 cc379-80
Mr. Calcraft

said, he held in his hand a declaration, signed by sir Francis Burdett, which the house, he had no doubt, would receive, agreeably to the act of the 28th of the king, for the regulation of controverted elections. The act being read pro formâ by the clerk, the hon. gent. observed, that, according to its provisions, any member, in case of a contested election, might withdraw himself from the contest, by signing a written declaration to that effect, which the house was bound to receive.

The Speaker

called the attention of the house to the present proceeding. He observed, it was certainly competent for a member to withdraw himself by signing a written declaration, but he must relinquish prosecuting the business totally, but not partially. The question was, whether the declaration was so defined, that the hon. member withdrew himself out of one or several parts of the charges contained hi the petition.

Mr. Calcraft

was of opinion that the declaration Which he held in his hand came within the act. It declared, that it was not the intention of the hon. baronet to defend the petition, as far as related to the majority, or the right of voting, but he wished to defend himself against the charge of bribery and corruption. He thought the latter words superfluous, but did not imagine they vitiated the declaration.

The Secretary at War

argued, on the contrary, that, unless the declaration was final, it could not be received.

Sir John Newport

was of opinion that the declaration came within the spirit and the letter of the act, as it was impossible for the hon. baronet to proceed further; and as the charge of perjury goes to civil penalties, the declaration, if not worded as it was at present, may be brought against him.

Mr. Calcraft

observed, that with the indulgence of the house, he would withdraw the declaration, for the purpose of amending it; and as the hon. baronet was indisposed in the country, he would present another, signed by him, to-morrow or next day.—After a few words from Mr. Rose and Mr. Grey, the declaration was accordingly withdrawn.