HC Deb 24 May 1821 vol 5 c983
Mr. W. Williams

rose to introduce a bill to prevent fraudulent votes being given at the election of members to sit in parliament. That an evil existed in the election of members for particular cities-and boroughs, by individuals giving occasional votes, arising from freeholds under 40s. a year, could not be doubted. Many cases of this description had been investigated by committees of that House, and various decisions had been come to. He would briefly state the object he had in view. His intention was, to extend the laws by which county elections were regulated, to the election of members of parliament for certain cities and boroughs. But, as he had already learned the sense of the House on one part of the measure which he had projected, he wished it to be understood that without giving up the opinion which he originally held on the subject, he meant that burgage tenures should be exempted from the operation of the bill. He thought his bill entitled to the support of every gentleman in the House. His object was, to oppose fraud, and fraud only. He did not wish to interfere with real property of any description, or to take away the right of election from those who justly possessed it; but he could not consent to allow it an influence beyond that which was acquired by a fair, open, and honest expenditure. He concluded by moving for leave to bring in a bill to prevent occasional votes arising from freeholds under 40s. a year, in certain cities and boroughs.—Leave given.