HC Deb 22 April 1863 vol 170 c536

Order for Second Reading read.

MR. COLLINS moved the second reading of this Bill. About a hundred years ago, power was given to Mr. Speaker to fill up vacancies on notice being given by two Members of the House, and after fourteen days' notice in the Gazette. A hundred years ago, when there were no railways, steamboats, newspapers, or telegraphs, it might have been necessary that fourteen days' notice should be given; but circumstances had now completely changed. He had referred to the seven elections which took place during last recess, and he found, that leaving out of view Kent and Reigate, the shortest vacancy was twenty-eight days, the longest being thirty-two days, on an average thirty days. He proposed, therefore, by this Bill, that the notice should be four days, instead of fourteen, and elections might then take place twenty days after vacancies, which even in the recess would afford to constituencies ample time to fill them up.


said, he did not intend to oppose the second reading, on the understanding that the House should not be considered bound by the exact wording of the Bill, and that it should not be imperative on the Speaker to issue his warrant within a shorter time than fourteen days. These matters would have to be settled in the Committee.


Sir, the hon. Gentleman who moved the second reading of the Bill must surely make a mistake when he says that a hundred years ago Parliament gave you the power to fill up vacancies.

Bill read 2°, and committed for Monday next.