HC Deb 18 February 1867 vol 185 cc470-2

Order for Second Reading read.


said, be did not rise to oppose the Bill; but be wished for some explanation with regard to the omission from the Bill of all allusion to the office of Paymaster General, and certain duties connected with Chelsea Hospital at present performed by the Vice President of the Board of Trade. He hoped some explanation would be given of the intentions of the Government on these two points, which were rather connected with a Military Department than with the Board of Trade.


Had the hon. Member been in the House the other night when I introduced the Bill he would have been aware that I gave an explanation on both the points on which he now asks for information. I then stated that arrangements would be made for the discharge of the duties to which the hon. Member refers. It would be useless to insert provisions on the subject in the Bill, since Her Majesty may appoint any officer she pleases to undertake those services. It is not necessary—indeed, it would be inconvenient—to prescribe those duties in an Act of Parliament.


said, that the Vice President of the Board of Trade had hitherto vacated his seat on accepting office, whereas the Secretaries of the Poor Law Board, the Admiralty, and the Treasury were not required to undergo re-election. He wished, therefore, to know whether, under the present Bill, the Secretary to the Board of Trade would have to go to his constituents, or whether he would be in the same position as the Secretaries of other Departments?


He will not require re-election.


said, he thought this raised a very important Constitutional question, because one Member of the Government less than at present would vacate his seat on taking office. The point would require consideration when the Bill was in Committee.


said, he regretted that the attention of the House had not been drawn to this point when his right hon. Friend (Sir Stafford Northcote) introduced the Bill; for the vacating of a seat upon accepting an office under the Crown was a matter of no small importance both in theory and in practice, and one on which both the House and the country entertained a very just jealousy. His notice having only been drawn to the matter a few moments ago, he would not now undertake to say whether there might or might not be sufficient grounds for the alteration proposed; but the question was one of primary importance, and his right hon. Friend would probably share in his regret that he had not referred to it in the first instance. He was very unwilling to delay the progress of a Bill which appeared to be generally of a useful character; but the matter would require careful consideration at a future stage.

Motion agreed to: Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.