HC Deb 11 May 1836 vol 33 cc834-5

Mr. Poulter moved the second reading of this Bill.

The Solicitor-General

stated, that although a Bill on the subject of the late election of municipal officers in the borough of Poole had been recommended by a Committee of the House, he felt it to be his duty to object to this Bill, as it involved principles which he could not help considering of a dangerous tendency. The proper tribunal to decide upon a case of this kind was a court of law, and the House was aware that to such a tribunal had the case been submitted. The trial was now-pending the judgment of the Court of King's Bench. He could not but express his objection to the Bill, because it involved a principle which he thought it would be very dangerous to admit—the interference of the Legislature in a question which was still awaiting the judgment of a proper tribunal, a court of law. Suppose the judgment of the Court of King's Bench should be, that these councillors had been duly elected, in what a position would Parliament have placed itself by agreeing to such a Bill as this? The legal right of the parties was in course of inquiry before the fitting tribunal; and he trusted the hon. Member would not seek to commit the House by any precipitate legislation upon this question.

Mr. Poulter

said, the hon. and learned Gentleman did not appear to understand the principle of the Bill. If a decision upon the question were delayed till a court of law gave its judgment upon the point, the councillors in question would be out of office long before the decision was given. The whole town government of the borough of Poole had been built up on a gross and scandalous fraud, and the Legislature was bound to take cognizance of the subject for the protection of the interests of the borough. He came to the House because there was no remedy in law for the grievance of which he complained.

The Solicitor-General

said, that though he should not oppose the second reading of the Bill, he reserved a full right to state his great objections to the Bill at a future stage, and before a fuller House.

Bill read a second time.