HC Deb 12 February 1839 vol 45 cc345-6
Mr. Sergeant Jackson

would detain the House but a very few moments with his motion respecting a bill to amend the laws relating to the registration of voters in Ireland, and to assimilate them as much as possible to those of England. The present state of the law was admitted on all hands to be exceedingly defective, and this was the opinion of all per- sons, of whatever political party they might be. A bill to amend its defects was brought in by the Attorney-General of Ireland in 1835, and also in 1836, and in the last Session of Parliament, none having been brought in in the Session of 1837. The fictitious votes committee, which sat a considerable time, had witnesses summoned before it from different parts of Ireland, witnesses composed of all classes, and it was agreed on all sides, that the evils of the present system were intolerable. It would be in the recollection of the House, that last year he took the liberty to bring in a bill to remedy these evils, and that after the bill had been read a second time pro formâ, it went into committee, so as to enable him to give the details of the measure the fullest consideration, and he had since taken all the pains in his power to render the bill perfect. A very important law was passed last Session—he alluded to the Irish Poor-law act, which contained much machinery which would be available for registration. That law, however, had not yet come into operation, but he availed himself of its machinery in the bill which he introduced last Session for the purpose of assimilating the law, as far as possible, in England and Ireland. He had been receiving suggestions upon his bill, up to the latest moment. He had not brought it in as a party measure, and he should be obliged to any Gentleman who would consent to give him any assistance. Among many important suggestions which he had received, he had been told, that it would be premature to attempt to introduce a change to the extent which he had originally contemplated, and it had been suggested to him, that he would do well to deal only with some of the leading defects in the law at present, and not attempt to go the full length of the bill which he had introduced. He was quite disposed to consider that proposition, and, therefore, he would not now apply for leave to bring in a bill, as he considered, that when a Member asked for leave to bring in a bill he ought to have it in his hands; but he should apply himself to the consideration of the suggestions which he had received without loss of time, and would endeavour to make his measure as perfect as possible before it was introduced.

Notice of a motion withdrawn.