HC Deb 10 August 1842 vol 65 cc1295-7
Sir J. Graham,

in moving for leave to bring in a bill for the better registration of Parliamentary elections, said he would not detain the House, as he only wished to lay the bill on the Table, and to have it printed, with a view of taking it into consideration at the commencement of the next Session of Parliament. He would only give a brief outline of the measure. First, he thought it better entirely to repeal all the clauses of the Reform Act affecting registration, and to re-enact them with the alterations which he thought it expedient to introduce. There would be no very important alteration in the machinery of the original steps to be taken With reference to the commencement of the register in counties. The payment of the shilling, however, which had been much objected to by freeholders, would be repealed. The principal alterations would relate to the revising barristers and the constitution of the Court of Appeal. Considerable objection had been made to the number of revising barristers appointed and to the mode of payment. He proposed to limit the number of revising barristers in the proportion (as we understood) of one to each county, and that, instead of the payment by the day, with travelling expenses, there should be a sum of 200 guineas given to each revising barrister. This would effect a saving of about 10,000l. a-year. The most important provisions would be those with respect to the Court of Appeal. He proposed that the Lords Chief Justices of the Queen's Bench and Common Pleas, and the Chief Baron of the Exchequer, should appoint three barristers of a given standing, to form a permanent court of appeal. Their payment should be a certain amount per day, and they should be removable upon address from the two Houses of Parliament. He proposed to introduce declaratory clauses on two disputed points. One was a mere matter of regulation. With respect to annuities, which required to be registered not only at the annual registration, but also by a statute prior to the Reform Act, at the office of the Clerk of the Peace. He proposed to make the single registration, under the Reform Act, sufficient. He proposed also, with respect to 501. occupiers in counties, that they should be entitled to be registered with respect to successive occupations. It was an anomaly that a tenant removing from a 50l. tenement to one of the value of a 100l. should thereby lose his right to register for a time. He also proposed that with respect to mortgagees, only mortgagees in possession should be allowed to vote, in cases of trustees, that no trustee should be entitled to vote unless he possessed a beneficial interest in the trust estate. He proposed also to settle what should be reckoned the distance of seven miles from the centre of a borough, by measuring the distance in a straight line according to the Ordnance maps. He intended also to introduce a most important alteration with respect to the third question to be put to voters at the poll. With respect to counties, he proposed absolutely to abolish this question. With respect to cities and boroughs, he proposed to substitute for the question relative to qualification as registered the question, " Have you continued to reside?" It had always been held, with respect to cities and boroughs, that residence was indispensable, and he intended that it should continue. He did not think that it was necessary for him, in the present stage of the measure, and of the Session, to go at greater length into detail; he should content himself with moving for leave to bring in the bill.

Bill brought in and read a first time. To be read a second time in fourteen weeks and be printed.

House adjourned at a quarter after eleven.