HC Deb 08 February 1836 vol 31 cc165-6
The Attorney-General

moved for leave to bring in a Bill to alter and amend the Municipal Corporations Act of last year. He was understood to state, that the Act of last year had worked quite as well as, under all the circumstances, could possibly have been expected. In a measure, however, of so extensive and sweeping a character, it was found that some few Amendments were necessary to render its operation easy and perfect. To effect such Amendments was the object of the Bill which he was now about to move for leave to introduce. In a few instances, as in the cases of Rochester, and Newport in the Isle of Wight, there had been an equality of votes in the election of Towncouncillors, so that in fact no Aldermen were returned. In such cases it was proposed for the future to give the casting vote to the senior councillor. Again, where there might be any dispute by the law as it now stood, about the title of the returning officer, it was proposed that the supposed flaw in his title should mot vitiate any election where the parties had been chosen bona fide by a majority of electors. It was further proposed, that all legal proceedings which had been commenced in consequence of the defects or misunderstanding of the late Bill, should be staid upon payment of costs.

Colonel Sibthorp

wished that Gentlemen should have sufficient, time to consider the Amendments proposed, as he thought it would be in their power, as it was in his power, to point out a few other absurdities in the Bill of last Session, which he regarded as a most imperfect and most dangerous measure.

Mr. Thomas Attwood

begged to remind the hon. and learned Gentleman of one great defect in the present law, that of withholding from the Town Council the appointment of the Magistrates. The Bill, as originally introduced last year, gave the Council that power. It was a most important political right, and he thought that part of the measure, as it was first brought in, ought to be revived, and certainly this was a very good opportunity for doing so. Another defect was the qualification clause. It was very objectionable, and ought to be abolished. There ought to be no other qualification required to be- come a Town Councillor than the confidence and good opinion of his fellow-citizens.

Leave given.