HC Deb 10 March 1859 vol 152 cc1618-9

said, as it appears, by Parliamentary Paper No. 108 of last Session, that the Registered Electors of the borough of East Retford entitled to vote for the northern division of the county of Nottingham, are only eighty-six in number, whereas it appears by the County Register of Voters that the number amounts to 1,466, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer to give an explanation of this difference; and whether the proposal to disfranchise the freeholders of boroughs in respect of their county votes extended to the cases in which hundreds are included within the limits of Parliamentary boroughs?


Sir, I have referred to the Par- liamentary Paper No. 108, and the entry that appears for East Retford is as stated by the hon. Gentleman; but this Return is made by the County Officers, and is not under our control; and I am quite at a loss to explain the remarkable inconsistency pointed out by the hon. Gentleman—no doubt, on correct local information—between the return and the County Register. With regard to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's question, as to the disfranchisement of freeholders in boroughs in respect of their county votes, I would inform the hon. Gentleman that our proposal to disfranchise freeholders in boroughs in voting for counties, will not extend to those cases in which hundreds are included within the limits of Parliamentary boroughs; and I will take this opportunity of explaining, in reference to the notice just given by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London and of my bon. Friend (Mr. Miles) that it is not the intention of the Government to propose the disfranchisement of any borough freeholders, whether they exercise the right of voting in hundreds within the limits of Parliamentary boroughs or not. One of the principles of the measure which I had the honour to introduce the other night is, that no place and no person shall be disfranchised. The subject is under the consideration of the Government, and I intend shortly to place clauses on the table by which I trust we shall reconcile the main principle of the measure, which is the identity of the suffrage between counties and boroughs, with the recognized rights of the freeholders within the limits of Parliamentary boroughs. I shall propose clauses with this object when we go into Committee, and I will lay those clauses on the table before the second reading of the Bill: