§ THE LORD ADVOCATE moved for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the law for the registration of persons entitled to vote in the election of Members to serve in Parliament for Counties in Scotland.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
had hoped that as Her Majesty's Government had promised to introduce a Parliamentary Reform Bill next Session, and had asserted that there was an understanding that all measures relating to the representation of the people should be deferred till that period, the Lord Advocate would not have asked the House to consider this Bill, which was considered by the last Parliament and was found to be in many respects very objectionable.
§ MR. G. DUNDAS
should feel it to be his duty to take the same course this as 285 he did last year with regard to this Bill. He greatly regretted that the Lord Advocate should have attempted at so late a period, and so long after those meetings which were held in Scotland for the discussion of measures of public importance, to urge on his measure, which had already caused so much dissatisfaction and expense in those Scotch burghs to which its principle had been applied. Scotland was already over-taxed, and this Bill would add unnecessarily to her burdens. He advised the Lord Advocate to withdraw his Motion until the noble Lord at the head of the Government introduced what the hon. Member for Surrey called the "hodge-podge" of next Session.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
rejoiced that the Lord Advocate intended to persevere with his Bill of last Session, because he believed that wherever its principle had been put into operation in the burghs of Scotland it had worked admirably.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
bore testimony to the satisfactory operation of the principle of the measure in the Scotch burghs, and said, he believed that the extension of the principle to Scotch counties would be a great boon. It ought to be recollected at this time, when all were anxious to see the franchise extended, that, before it was lowered, care should be taken to enable all those who were already entitled to the franchise to exercise it. The expense at present connected with placing a Scotch county voter on the registry was so great that many men were deterred from applying for the enrolment of their names on the registry. He hoped, therefore, that the Lord Advocate would press forward this measure.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
, having promised to give on the occasion of the second reading a full explanation of the measure, and to defend it against the observations of Mr. Blackburn and Mr. Dundas,
§ Leave given.
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by The LORD ADVOCATE, Sir GEORGE GREY, and Viscount DUNCAN.