HC Deb 22 February 1869 vol 194 cc157-8

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to take any steps towards clearing up the doubts which exist in the minds of many persons, and especially in those of Revising Barristers, as to what constitutes a house within the meaning of the Reform Act of 1867?


said, that when the matter was discussed in the course of the Session of 1867 it was found to be attended with very considerable difficulty, and it might be desirable that some further attempt should be made to clear up the law with respect to it. He had been informed that the records of the proceedings of the Revising Barristers during the last autumn would not afford them much assistance in that direction. That might be owing to the rapidity with which the work of the revision of the lists of voters had then to be conducted, and to the fact that in the course of the revision no point that could be avoided had been dealt with; and under these circumstances he thought it was a matter for consideration whether it would be wise on their parts to attempt to legislate further upon the subject during the present Session, or whether it would not be expedient that they should wait for the experience of the next registration, which would be carried on with the usual amount of deliberation. On the whole, he leant to the impression—although he did not mean to express any positive and absolute conviction—that it might be expedient for them to postpone dealing with that particular matter until another Session. He was still, however, ready to consider whether a different course should not be adopted, and whether, if the House should determine on making an inquiry into a number of points connected with our Election Law and the system of registration, it might not be desirable to include in the investigation the point which had been raised in the Question of the hon. Gentleman. That was a matter which remained entirely open.