§ Mr. T. Duncombe
wished to put a question to the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department. He had that morning received a letter from the chairman of the board of guardians of the Preston Union, from which it appeared that last year, during the election of the guardians of the poor, great dissatisfaction existed in the town of Preston, on account of the clerk of the board of guardians having been appointed the returning officer. That Gentleman also stated in his letter, his belief that all clerks of boards of guardians who acted as returning officers had a direct pecuniary interest in exciting contests, and that their position as returning officers gave them facilities for bringing about the return of partial persons, and of their own friends. Now, he wished to know whether it was the intention of the Government to pursue at, the ensuing election of boards of guardians, the same system that had been pursued in particular large towns, of appointing the clerks of the boards of guardians to be the returning officers.
§ Sir J. Graham
said, he had already answered the question in substance, in 1093 consequence of a question that had been put to him by the hon. Member for Knaresborough. It was the intention of the Poor-law Commissioners generally to appoint the clerks of the boards of guardians to be returning officers at the approaching elections. He had, at the same time, stated the reasons that had influenced them in coming to this decision. They were, that the clerks of the boards of guardians were persons holding their appointments during pleasure; that they were in the possession of valuable appointments from which they were remove-able for misconduct; and it had also been announced, that should any one of those returning officers, at the approaching election, be found to have been guilty of the least misconduct in the discharge of his duty, condign punishment would certainly follow. At the same time, he (Sir J. Graham) stated, that all arrangements made for the election in March had been made with a view to the clerk of the guardians being the returning officer, and that any change made now, would involve the whole election in inextricable confusion.
§ Subject at an end.