HC Deb 10 June 1857 vol 145 cc1545-9

Order for Second Reading read.


regretted that the present Session was likely to be so short as to render further proceedings with Bills, like the one he had taken charge of, difficult on the part of private Members. The hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) said Members were apt to forget their promises, and, perhaps, if this Bill were postponed, they might forget their election expenses, under which most of them were now smarting. It was not, however, his intention to divide the House on the present occasion. As one of those who acquiesced on a former occasion in the suggestion of the noble Lord at the head of the Government not to press forward during the present Session measures relating to the representation of the people, he could not, of course, ask the House to make his own particular measure an exception to the rule. He must observe, however, that there already had been a division of three to one in favour of the principle of his Bill; and he hoped the noble Lord would, when he considered the question of reform, take notice of the fact that the House was dissatisfied with the present state of election expenses, and that this feeling of dissatisfaction had also been expressed in the Report of an important Committee. It was his intention to pursue this question year by year, so long as he was honoured with the support of the House, for he was not one of those who thought the electors of England such babies as to be required to be wrapped up in swaddling clothes and carried to the hustings. He now moved that the Order for the second reading of the Election Expenses Bill be discharged.


said, he did not intend to propose his Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day six months; but, as a young Member, he hoped he might be permitted to say a few words with regard to it. The Bill would be a great hardship not only on the constituency he represented, but upon all other agricultural constituencies in the kingdom. It proposed, first, that all hustings and polling booths expenses should henceforth be paid out of the county and borough rates, and not out of the pocket of candidates; and, secondly, rendered illegal not only the payment of travelling expenses by a candidate, but also every provision for any sort of conveyance for electors. To both of these proposals he entertained the most serious objections. The hon. Member was frequently interrupted by cries of "Withdraw," and was at length obliged to give way to the sense of the House.

Order discharged; Bill withdrawn.

On the Motion of Mr. T. DUNCOMBE, the Order for the Second Reading of the Registration of Voters Bill was also discharged, and the Bill withdrawn.

House adjourned at half after Five o'clock.