HC Deb 17 May 1824 vol 11 cc755-6

The Sheriffs of London presented a petition from the corporation, praying for a reform of parliament.

Mr. Alderman Wood

said, that the petition had been carried by a large majority in a court which was fully attended. The fact was, that neither the freeholders of London or Southward were represented at present in that House. With the present number of members it was impossible that the interests of their constituents could be properly attended to.

Mr. W. Smith

said, he very well recollected having given his feeble support to the celebrated petition for parliamentary reform brought up in 1792, and in all he had ever heard upon the subject, from that time up to the present, he had never heard the arguments of the petition answered. It was very truly said, that the metropolitan freeholders were not represented in any tolerable proportion to their wealth, population, and intellect. The members of the city and borough could not possibly know whom they represented. About 11,000 persons, scattered over all parts of the country, elected the members for the city of London, which contained some hundreds of thousands. The possession of a freehold in any of the other cities gave the owner a vote for the city. Now, he had held a pretty considerable freehold in the city of London for nearly half a century, and he had never been allowed to vote for the city. He hoped that the House would listen to the prayer of the petition.

Mr. T. Wilson

could never promise his support to any measure of parliamentary reform until brought forward in a tangible shape, by way of complaint against some stated grievance or abuse.

Sir L. Coffin

thought, that the reform of the petitioners began at the wrong end. They should first reform themselves.

Lord J. Russell

said, that though he had not thought it expedient to agitate the question this session, he had not abandoned it, but intended early in the next session, to submit a motion upon the subject; as he considered a reform of parliament equally necessary to the protection of the people and the security of the House.

Ordered to lie on the table.