§ MR. READ
said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Home Department, Upon what calculation he founded the statement he made on intro- 880 ducing his Bill on County Financial Arrangements, that under the proposed Bill the number of Representative Ratepayers in Quarter Sessions would be only "one to five" of the County Magistrates?
§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN
said, in reply, that on the 2nd of March he moved for a Return of the number of parishes in each Poor Law union in England and Wales. Applying the Schedule of the Bill to that Return, he was enabled to state with tolerable accuracy the number of elective members which would be sent to the Financial Board in each county. He had next ascertained from the clerks of the peace of each county the number of magistrates on the roll. The result appeared to be that there would be one elected member to every five magistrates on the roll; but he had not meant to convey to the House that such would be the proportion actually on the Board. If, for instance, there were 250 magistrates on the roll, it would not at all follow that anything like that number would attend at the Sessions. There were deductions to be made for absence on account of non-residence, age, and such other causes, and he was afraid he must add on account of want of inclination; and, after those deductions, it would probably be found that the average attendance at sessions was not more than fifty at the outside. If there were 250 magistrates on the roll, and only fifty elected guardians, the proportion of course would be one in five. But whilst the usual attendance of magistrates was not more than from forty to sixty; of the fifty elected rate-payers the great majority might fairly be expected to attend. The result would be that either the elected members could exercise a very considerable power in the County Financial Boards, or else the magistrates, to prevent a dominant power, would be stimulated to attend in far greater numbers. In cither case, he did not think the result would be objectionable.