§ MR. MONK
, in moving for leave to introduce a Bill to remove restrictions from certain Officers employed in the collection and management of Her Majesty's Revenues, and to enable them to take part unreservedly in the Election of Members to serve in Parliament, said, that the Act passed in the last Session enabled the Revenue Officers to vote at Parliamentary Elections; it also relieved Officers in the Excise department from an exceptionally heavy fine of £500, and from other penalties, to which they were liable, if they interfered in elections, but some enactments of the reigns of William and Mary and Anne still remained unrepealed, under which Officers in the Customs and Post Office became liable to a penalty of £100, and were rendered incapable of holding any office of trust under the Crown, if they took part in elections by persuading persons to vote, or to abstain from voting, for particular candidates. A similar Act affecting the Inland Revenue Officers, 5 & 6 Will. & Mary, c. 20, s. 48, had been repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act of 1867. It was his intention to have moved the insertion of the sections relating to the Post Office and Customs in his Bill of last year; but in the face of the threatened opposition of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, he would have perilled the safety of his measure if he had then endeavoured to repeal those sections. He trusted that no opposition would now be made to a proposal 272 to enable officers in the Post Office and the Customs to exercise the same rights as their brethren engaged in other branches of the Civil Service in regard to freedom of speech, the liberty to canvass at elections, and to propose or second candidates if they thought proper, instead of being allowed as at present merely to record their votes.
said, he had no intention to oppose the introduction of the Bill, because it would be desirable to see the measure and examine its precise effect upon the law. He should reserve his freedom of judgment until he had satisfied himself as to the exact purport of the inequalities in the existing rights of different Departments of the public service, because, unless caution were exercised, they would end by creating new inequalities. It was quite clear that this was a matter which would have to be considered with reference to other persons besides those who were employed in what was called the Civil Service of the State. He was quite sure that his hon. Friend did not wish the Government to act with undue haste in this matter. He would consider the measure with every desire of agreeing with his hon. Friend, but at the same time of arriving at such a conclusion as might be expedient.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill to remove restrictions from certain Officers employed in the collection and management of Her Majesty's Revenues, and to enable them to take part unreservedly in the Election of Members to serve in Parliament, ordered to be brought in by Mr. MONK, Sir HARRY VERNEY, and Mr. CRAUFURD.
§ Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 14.]