§ MR. HARDCASTLE
, in moving for leave to bring in a Bill to repeal the Minority Clauses of the Representation of the People Act, 1867, and the Representation of the People (Scotland) Act, 1868, said, that the Bill consisted of only one enacting clause, which it was not necessary to take up the time of the House by explaining on that occasion. He hoped, when the Bill came to a second reading, he would be able to show that it was not a measure of a reactionary character as it had been represented to be that morning in one of the main organs of public opinion.
said, he hoped the hon. Member would not persevere in the course he was about to take. If he did, it would be very like putting the Reform. Bill into a crucible to recast it. Whatever opinion the hon. Gentleman might entertain, there were a great many in that House who attached the greatest value to the Minority Clauses, which they regarded as forming a protection against the tyranny of absolute and uncompromising majorities. For his own part, he would strongly oppose the Motion without reference to what might be done at another time.
said, though he was very far from laying it down absolutely that all Bills were to have their first stage taken simply as a matter of course, yet he thought his hon. Friend (Mr. Hardcastle) had a very fair case for being allowed to introduce his measure without opposition. For the opinion upon which his hon. Friend acted was not merely his (Mr. Gladstone's) opinion—he would not recommend the Bill on that ground—but the opinion of the House of Commons, which sent tip the Reform Bill to the House of Lords without the Minority Clauses, and passed them afterwards in order to avoid running the risk of losing the Bill for a year. Under these circumstances, it was only fair his hon. Friend should, be allowed to introduce the Bill without opposition. On the part of the Government, he might say that it was quite right they should reserve to a later stage the expression of an opinion whether it was or was not desirable to deal with this particular part of the election, law in au isolated manner.
Motion agreed to.
Bill to repeal the Minority Clauses of the Representation of the People Act, 1867, and the Representation of the People (Scotland) Act, 1868, ordered to be brought in by Mr. HARDCASTLE, Mr. VERNON HARCOURT, and Mr. THOMAS POTTER.