HC Deb 20 March 1866 vol 182 cc579-80

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, in the event of the Bill for the Representation of the People passing into Law, it is the intention of the Government to introduce any measure in relation to corrupt practices at Elections; and, if so, when?


I am afraid, Sir, that I can give no more definite answer to this Question than to refer to the words which I used in my opening statement on the subject of the Electoral Franchise. I then meant to state this on the part of the Government, that the state of the case was certainly very urgent, that we had no reason to believe that the present provisions of the law had been efficient for their purpose, and that consequently it was obviously a primary duty of any Government, in considering the questions connected with the representation of the people, to direct their attention to the subject of the law relating to corrupt practices at elections. But, urgent as on the one hand the question is, it is on the other hand likewise attended with greater difficulty; and I am afraid to give any pledge in respect to it, except the conditional one on the part of the Government that it will be their duty to endeavour to frame a measure upon it when the proper time comes, which certainly, if for no other reason, cannot be until we have obtained whatever additional knowledge and evidence the investigations of the present Session are likely to furnish.