HC Deb 07 August 1875 vol 226 cc720-4

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [31st July], "That the Bin be now read the third time."

Question again proposed.


said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary would not proceed with the Bill that night. The House had been engaged on Government Business up to that late hour, and also until 3 o'clock on the previous morning on the same business. He hoped hon. Gentlemen in charge of the Bill would consent to the adjournment of the debate.


rose to Order. He believed the hon. Member for Bath had already spoken in the course of the previous debate.


moved the adjournment of the debate.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Edward Jenkins.)


regretted that the hon. Member should have thought it necessary to interfere. He understood it was believed by some hon. Members on that (the Liberal) side of the House that the Bill was intended to serve the interests of the Conservative Party at the expense of those who sat on the Liberal side. He failed to see how it could do so, but he failed especially to see on what logical grounds any radical like his hon. Friend the Member for Dundee could oppose a Bill for such a legitimate extension of the franchise.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 20; Noes 54: Majority 34.

Original Question again proposed.


rose to move the Adjournment of the House. The Bills remaining on the Paper were six in number, and were all Private Members' Bills, and he certainly understood that when the House met on Saturday afternoons it was for the Business remaining to be disposed of at the end of the Session, and in order to facilitate the Government Bills. It would do no harm if the debate on the present Bill were postponed. The 3rd Bill—Offences Against the Person—was one which would give rise to a great amount of controversy, and could not be decided without some hours of time being consumed upon it. Then there would be a debate upon the Infanticide Bill, which was a Bill which had not passed the House of Lords, and therefore could not be carried at once. The next Bill— Increase of the Episcopate—was op-posed by hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side. The Lords' Amendments to the Offences Against the Person Bill could be considered in ample time for the Bill to pass into law, and therefore it would not stop the measure to adjourn the House on the present occasion. There were two other Bills which might be said not to have been debated at all. This Bill could not be proceeded with at the extreme end of a sitting. It gave rise to matters which would require to be discussed at considerable length, and a number of matters were mentioned, to which he should presently have to allude, but he would not enter into minute details on the present occasion. There were a number of questions which were neither exactly representative questions nor franchise questions, but lay between the two. In 1869 there was a great deal of excitement on the registration question, and immediately after the first General Election many householders felt very keenly the difficulties in the way of their exercise of the franchise. A Committee was moved for in the House by the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone). The Committee was appointed, and was presided over by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt), and he (Sir Charles Dilke) spoke with certain knowledge of its proceedings, because he attended every meeting, and took the evidence on one branch of inquiry. The result was that a Report was drawn up and agreed to by both the Liberal and Conservative Members of the Committee. The Report not only dealt with questions of registration proper, but also questions of franchise. The Report was never acted upon in the House of Commons. A Registration Bill founded on it was introduced three times—once by himself, once by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford, and on the third occasion by some other hon. Member. On one occasion he succeeded in carrying this Registration Bill through the Committee; but it was defeated by the party opposite by their tactics on the third reading. As an instance of the inequalities it was proposed to remedy, he might mention that when a lodger removed from one floor to another he lost his franchise. This was a great handship, and one that ought to be remedied by legislation. It would be monstrous to attempt to proceed with the present Bill now.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Sir Charles W. Dilke.)


said, it was not right that objection should now be made to proceeding with the Bill, when there had been no objection to its being placed upon the Paper for that day. It was not owing to any fault of his that the Bill had not come in at an earlier period of the Session. He would, however, consent to adjourn the debate, if the hon. Baronet opposite would withdraw his Motion for the Adjournment of the House.


said, that Private Members' Business had been postponed to make way for Government Business as was usual on Saturdays, and it was only fair that they should have the fag-end of what was usually a Government sitting for the discussion of their measures. His Bill—the Offences against the Person Bill—had been waiting for six weeks for the consideration of the Lords' Amendments, and he hoped they would be considered now.


said, the suggestion of his hon. Friend opposite (Sir Charles W. Dilke) was a reasonable one. What the hon. Baronet said was very fair; Saturday was not ordinarily accessible to Government Business, and it was not desirable to take Business that would lead to much contest; on the other hand, the Private Members had been very good to the Government, and he thought that the present difficulty could be compromised by withdrawing the Motion for the Adjournment of the House, and, the other Bills being adjourned until Monday, that they should at least take the adjourned debate on the consideration of the Lords' Amendments to the Offences Against the Person Bill.


said, he hoped, if the other Bills were adjourned, that his Bill, the Increase of the Episcopate Bill, should be put in such a position on the Paper for Monday as to ensure its being brought on at an early part of the evening. A Bill of the importance of the Increase to the Episcopate Bill demanded the serious consideration of the House. It was one which had gone through all its stages in the House of Lords without any Amendment, and that, as he contended, gave it a claim on the serious attention of this House.


said, he was never more astounded in his life than at the statement just made by the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge. The Bill of which he had charge met with only a negative support from the Government in the Upper House.


said, an adjournment of the discussion of the Bill of the hon. Member for Christchurch until Monday would be fruitless, for the Bill would be just as distasteful then as now, and nothing could be more unfortunate than that a measure of the kind should be passed by a private Member.


supported the Bill, and urged that it should be proceeded with that evening.


said, he had pursued a legitimate course in opposing the Bill. He protested against controversial measures brought in by private Members being discussed on days appointed for Government Business at the end of the Session.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 23; Noes 31: Majority 8.


moved the adjournment of the debate till Monday.

Motion agreed to.

Debate adjourned till Monday.