HC Deb 03 February 1831 vol 2 cc131-2

Sir C. Wetherell, adverting to the statement of the noble Lord, with respect to Reform, was anxious to know whether the plan to be proposed was to be looked on as emanating directly from the Government, or from individual Members of that House? The noble Lord had told them that the task of introducing the measure was to devolve on the Paymaster of the Forces. Was the Paymaster of the Forces a member of his Majesty's Government?

Lord Althorp

said, the hon. and learned Member must know, that the, Paymaster of the Forces was not a member of the Cabinet; but if the hon. and learned Member meant to imply that the noble Lord would not have the concurrence, one and all, of the members of the Government, in the plan he had to propose, then the learned Gentleman was completely in error. There were, however—and the learned Gentleman need not, he was sure, be told so—precedents in abundance for the course the Government pursued in this instance. There was, indeed, a remarkable one—that of Mr. Burke, who, as Paymaster of the Forces, brought forward his celebrated plan with respect to the Civil List. It was not, however, necessary to offer any precedent on the subject. Every man of common sense knew, that if the Government chose to depute any Member of the House to expound a plan for which they declared themselves responsible, that his act was, to all purposes the act of the Government; and that there could be no difficulty in understanding it as such.

Mr. Bankes

wished to know if the noble Lord intended to introduce Reform, in the first instance, through the means of a bill?

Lord Althorp

was understood to reply in the affirmative.

Mr. Keith Douglas

said, his hon. friend the member for Ayr (Mr. Kennedy) had given notice of a Motion respecting the Representation of Scotland, and he wished to know if the noble Lord's plan of Reform embraced that kingdom?

Lord Althorp

was quite ready to answer the hon. Member's question, but he hoped the House would excuse his declining to answer any others, or to state the measures which they intended to propose. This much he would say, that the plan of his Majesty's Government was to extend to Scotland.