HC Deb 13 August 1835 vol 30 cc475-6

The House went into Committee on the Corporation Reform (Ireland) Bill.

On Clause 6th being proposed,

Mr. Callaghan

moved an Amendment, to the effect, "That in cities, which were cities of counties, the right of franchise for Municipal Officers should be upon the same footing as the right of franchise for Members of Parliament." The hon. Member observed, that the class of voters that would be created by his Amendment were most unjustly excluded by the present Bill. He knew them to be a most independent and incorruptible class; and he knew, moreover, that they paid a larger proportion of the municipal taxes than the inhabitants of the towns, in the suburbs of which for the most part they resided. They were in every respect as much entitled to vote for Municipal Officers as for Members of Parliament; and by the Reform Bill a numerous class entitled to vote, the latter were denied by this Bill the right of electing their own Officers.

Mr. Sergeant Perrin

opposed the Amendment, the effect of which, he said, would be to extend the right of suffrage to a suburban constituency of 2l. and 3l. householders. The introduction of a constituency so numerous, and so low in the scale of society, would defeat the best provisions of the measure. He must, therefore, vote against the Amendment, which he thought had no better foundation than the principle of Universal Suffrage.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that all they contended for was, that the municipal suffrage should be upon the same footing that the Parliamentary suffrage was; that it should be co-equal with it. Why should it not? In Scotland it was co-equal. In England it was even greater. In Ireland alone it was less. He could assure his Majesty's Government that the Irish Members had thought much of this distinction, and it had given them great dissatisfaction. The very words of the Amendment proposed by his hon. Friend were taken out of the Reform Bill, and why there should be a line of distinction drawn he could not make out. It might be all very well to make the difference, if the class proposed as the new constituency did not pay the municipal taxes. The fact was, they paid in the proportion of three to one what the inhabitants of the towns paid. They paid the paving and lighting, and other ordinary imposts of the town. He hoped the opposition to the Amendment would be withdrawn.

Viscount Morpeth

said, that the object of the Bill was to establish a good municipal constituency. The Amendment of the hon. Member would let in the inhabitants of mud cabins—not that he meant to say anything against the tenants of mud cabins, they were no doubt very respectable, good, and loyal people in their way, but he would put it to the hon. Member, whether this Amendment would not have the effect of defeating the object proposed by the Government—namely, to provide a respectable municipal constituency.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill, the Bill went through the Committee.

The House resumed. Report to be received.