HC Deb 14 March 1832 vol 11 cc206-7
Colonel Wood

presented a Petition from the inhabitants of Merthyr Tydvil, praying either to be allowed to return a separate Representative, or to be allowed to vote for the county of Monmouth.

Lord John Russell

thought this a convenient opportunity to state that, as the hon. member for Cardiff had given notice that, in a future stage of the Reform Bill, he should move, that Merthyr Tydvil be inserted in schedule D, with a view to its returning one Member, it was the intention of his Majesty's Government to sup- port that Motion. At the same time they intended to propose, that the county of Monmouth should continue, as at present, to return only two Members.

Lord Granville Somerset

, had heard a rumour of the intention of his Majesty's Government, as now stated by the noble Lord, but he did not believe it. He put it down as one of the numerous false statements which had got abroad as to the intentions of his Majesty's Ministers. If he had not heard it from the lips of the noble Lord, he could not have believed that they would have adopted any thing so inconsistent with the rules of parliamentary fairness or of justice. Was it just, he would ask, at the eleventh hour, after the Bill had been three months before the House, to come forward with a proposition of this kind at the last moment, and when there was no opportunity of putting the House in possession of the merits of the case? He considered that such a line of conduct did not redound to the credit or character of Ministers, nor of the Bill. He should certainly vote for giving a Member to Merthyr Tydvil; but, though taken by surprise, he hoped he should be able to convince the House that the county of Monmouth was better entitled to three Members than any other county to which it was proposed to give that number of Representatives. He should also expect to hear what circumstances had arisen within a few days to cause a change in the intentions of Ministers on this point.

Colonel Wood

was taken as much by surprise as the noble Lord, by the declaration of the intentions of Government. He was glad the claims of Merthyr Tydvil were to be attended to, but he was sure that the petitioners had no wish to obtain a benefit at the expense of the county of Monmouth.

Sir Robert Peel

said, that he really could not understand upon what principle the change proposed by the noble Lord was to be made. If Ministers thought fit to change their intention with respect to Merthyr Tydvil, and to give that place a Member, it appeared to him that they ought not, therefore, to take one from the county of Monmouth, but rather from one of the new boroughs—Gateshead or South Shields, for instance.