HC Deb 02 March 1836 vol 31 cc1141-2
Mr. Poulter

moved that the Intimidation of Voters Bill be read a second time.

Mr. Williams Wynn

did not object to the second reading, but, at the same time, he certainly thought that it required a little concentration before going into Committee. The language in which some of its provisions were worded was very strong.

Mr. Ord

wished his hon. Friend would allow it to be referred to a Select Committee, to make arrangements for the better security of the subject under the application of these new powers.

Mr. Poulter

referred his hon. Friend to the statute of the 5th George 4th, where he would find that every desirable security was provided by the forms to be observed in bringing all questions of misdemeanour first before Grand Juries; then, if they pass those, before the usual Petty Juries. The offence, if supported sufficiently before the first, and proved before the second, would amount to simple misdeameanor, a degree of crime with which the Courts already knew well how to deal. He had intended to take the Committee on Wednesday next, and if in the meanwhile any hon. Member could suggest any alteration or amendment to him, he should be most happy to give it his attentive consideration. With regard to the wording of the provisions, he had adopted the language of preceding enactments, in declaring the threatening and intimidation of voters a misdemeanor punishable either by fine or imprisonment. He hoped the progress of the Bill would not be delayed. It was wholly unnecessary to refer so, plain and intelligible a point to a Select Committee up stairs. He had no objection to postpone the committal of the Bill if it were considered advisable.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that the Bill appeared good as far as it went, but it should not be unconditionally adopted, for the Intimidation Committee had not yet finished their labours, and might recommend other things, which it would be desirable to embody in one Bill, and the House might be embarrassed if they had not the opportunity. It was open to that Committee to take cognizance of this Bill, and he would recommend, as the most prudential course, that it be referred to them after the second reading.

Bill read a second time, and referred to a Select Committee.