HC Deb 20 February 1862 vol 165 cc513-4

said, it was his pleasing duty to move that Mr. Speaker do issue his warrant to the Clerk of the Crown to make out a new writ for the election of a burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the borough of Wakefield, in the room of William Henry Leatham, Esq., whose election has been determined void. Hon. Gentlemen opposite need not fear that he was about to inflict on the House along speech, because, from the manner in which the subject had been conceded by the Government, he considered it hardly necessary at all to go into the matter. [Cries of "Move, Move," "Agreed, Agreed."] He did, however, think when he came into that House, notwithstanding the report he had heard out of doors, that it would be utterly impossible that the Government could any longer withhold the writ for Wakefield. On previous occasions when he had the honour of submitting the motion to the House, the noble Lord at the head of the Government had urged as a pretext for its refusal, that the Home Secretary had then a Bill before Parliament dealing with bribery and corruption at elections. When he considered that the borough of Wakefield was made a Parliamentary borough by the Reform Act of 1832, and had never had a previous charge of the kind brought against it, he did think it a hard case that because a small fraction of the constituency should have been guilty of bribery, the entire electoral body, of more than 1,000, should have virtually suffered disfranchisement during a period of three years; and not they alone, but also the whole population of 23,000, included within the electoral boundary of that important town, now constituted the capital of the southern division of the West Riding, and which was annually extending as one of the great centres of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce. ["Move, Move."] He would not trouble the House by saying more, but he really, in common fairness, expected he would have been allowed to answer certain allegations that had come from the other side of the House, notwithstanding the reluctant and tardy concession of the Government in withholding all further opposition to the issue of that writ, for which he fought so hard in vain last Session. He begged to move the issue of the writ.


seconded the motion.


(who spoke amid much interruption) was understood to insist that the course pursued in the examination of the witnesses at the inquiry was a straining of our constitutional law.

Motion agreed to.