HC Deb 02 December 1830 vol 1 cc741-2
The Speaker

acquainted the House that Charles Harper, who had presented a petition on the 16th of November, complaining of an undue election for the Borough of Tregony, had not entered into the recognizances required by the Act of Parliament.

Mr. D. W. Harvey

presented a Petition from Mr. C. Harper, praying that the time for lodging the recognizances might be extended to Thursday next, and praying to be heard in support of the prayer of his petition.

The Motion was then put, that Charles Harper be called to the Bar.

Sir E. B. Sugden

opposed the petition. There was no reason to depart in this case from the rules prescribed by the Act of Parliament.

Mr. O'Connell

said, the House had power to grant the prayer of the petition, and he thought it ought to be granted.

Mr. Littleton

also thought the Parliament ought to enlarge the time for entering into the recognizances.

Mr. Ross

saw no reason for granting the indulgence, and was opposed to the House acting contrary to its own laws.

Mr. Hume

said, there had been no intention to violate the Act of Parliament; and that the case deserved the favourable consideration of the House.

Mr. Goulburn

contended, that the petitioner had not complied with the Act of Parliament, and was not entitled to the indulgence of the House.

The House then agreed that the petitioner should be called to the Bar. On the further question, that the time for entering the recognizances be enlarged till Thursday,

The Attorney General

thought it extremely inconvenient that the House should have to enter into these cases. He was unwilling to exclude persons from the benefits of an enlargement of their recog- nizances; but some attention ought to be paid by the parties to the Acts of Parliament.

Sir R. Peel

said, there was a manifest inconvenience in laying down rules if they were not to be adhered to. The petitioner had urged that he had never read the Act of Parliament; but if the House extended the time on such a plea, it was giving a manifest advantage to the negligent.

Mr. O'Connell

maintained that the petitioner had not violated the letter of the law. There was nothing in the Act to prevent a petitioner giving in more names than were required, as a prudent precaution in case some of his securities should not be able to pass examination.

Sir R. Peel

thought the hon. Member's speech a mere attempt at special pleading. The law was clear and positive, and admitted not of any such interpretation.

Mr. North

maintained that the Act only mentioned six and four securities as extreme numbers, including the intermediate number.

Sir E. B. Sugden

thought it impossible by such arguments to get rid of the plain words of the Act.

Mr. Campbell

said, that the petitioner had been guilty of gross negligence, and the petition ought not to be received.

The Speaker

recapitulated the case to the House, and stated, that the petitioner had been duly informed of what was required by the Act.

Lord Palmerston

thought that no favour should be granted unless the petitioner could show that he had taken every precaution to avoid a breach of the law. The dismissal of the petition would not prevent the House trying the validity of the election.

The House divided; Against the Motion 83; For it 23—Majority 60.

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