HC Deb 10 August 1843 vol 71 cc490-1

House in committee on Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bill.

On clause 2.

Mr. W. J. O'Brien

complained of the manner in which the exercise of the municipal franchise in Dublin was impeded. No fewer than sixteen rates were required to be paid before the elector could give his vote; he moved, therefore, that instead of the words, "payment of the several cesses, rates, and taxes," the words, "poor-rate and "borough-rate," be inserted."

Lord Eliot

said that the object of the bill before the House was not to alter the fundamental principle of the former measures, but merely to correct certain technical errors and defects. At the present period of the Session, it would be quite impossible to go into so important a question as that brought forward by the hon. Member.

Mr. Wyse

supported the amendment. It was not a proposition for altering fundamental principles, but for removing defects in detail, which impeded the franchise in Ireland, and placed the electors there in a most unfair position as compared with electors in England.

Mr. Ross

said that this measure was a direct violation of the pledge which had been repeatedly given by Ministers to assimilate the government of Ireland in every respect to that of England.

Sir J. Graham

said that the bill had been brought in by her Majesty's servants, on the clear understanding that it was a measure of regulation, and not one bearing upon the principle of the franchise. It was, no doubt, competent to the hon. Member for Limerick, or any other hon. Gentlemen to raise the whole question of the franchise, but if he persevered, it would be the duty of Government, at this period of the Session to withdraw the bill.

Sir D. Norreys

said, that it was really lamentable to see the present Government, this strong Government, that were to do so much practical good, leaving everything of any practical value to the end of the Session, and then throwing it overboard because it was the end of the Session and there was no time for attending to it.

Mr. G. A. Hamilton

said, the question for the committee to decide was simply this—whether or not the bill was to be regarded as a party measure, opening up the whole subject of municipal corporations in Ireland. He had regarded it as a measure brought in with the consent of all parties, for the purpose of remedying certain admitted defects in the existing law. That certainly was the understanding of the Government, and he thought was also the understanding of the House. In proof of this, he would mention that his right hon. Friend and Colleague had given notice of certain amendments, in reference to the boundaries of corporate towns, which appeared to him very important; but feeling that they might be considered as opening the general question, he had abandoned them. It was, no doubt, competent for any hon. Member to propose any amendment; but considering the great inconvenience of discussing the municipal franchise at this period of the Session, he would be prepared, for one, to move or support a motion that they report progress, and thus postpone the bill till the next Session.

Amendment withdrawn.

The remaining clauses were agreed to. Bill to be reported.

The House resumed.