HC Deb 29 December 1852 vol 123 cc1742-4

moved, that a new writ be issued for the borough of Southampton, in the room of Sir Alexander Cockburn, who since his election had accepted the office of Her Majesty's Attorney General.


said, he should like to have the opinion of Mr. Speaker whether a new writ could be issued for Southampton pending the petition against the former return of Sir Alexander Cockburn on the ground of bribery?


said, that in the case of an election petition complaining of an undue return, or of the return of a Member in consequence of bribery, but not claiming the seat for another person, it was competent for the House to issue a now writ; but in the case of a petition complaining of the undue return of a Member, and claiming the seat for another person, it was not competent for the House to issue a new writ pending the petition, inasmuch as the House in that case could not know which of the two Members had been duly elected.


said, that as the petition against Sir Alexander Cockburn merely prayed that the election should be declared a void election, it did not appear to him that any injury could be done to the petitioners by the issuing of a new writ; because the opposing candidate had only to serve a notice that the hon. and learned Gentleman was disqualified for sitting in that House in consequence of having been guilty of bribery, and then, if he should afterwards be found guilty of this charge by the Committee who had been appointed to try the petition, he would consequently be disqualified, and the person opposing him would be declared the sitting Member.


said, he had been re-requested by Sir Alexander Cockburn to say that he would not have consented to vacate his seat if he had not felt certain that the persons who had made the charge — which he believed was perfectly unfounded—were competent to renew the charge in the event of his being re-elected.

Motion agreed to.

The House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock till Friday.

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