HC Deb 08 July 1875 vol 225 cc1134-6

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, If his intention has been called to the election of a School Board for the united district of Field Dalling; and, if it is a fact, that the returning officer neglected to publish the notices on the door of the Methodist chapel, as required by 36 and 37 Vic. c. 86, s. 20; that the notice omitted to state the name or the residence of the persons from whom the nomination papers could be obtained; that an insufficient number of nomination papers was sent to the overseers of Field Dalling; that nomination papers could not be obtained in Saxlingham till the 8th June, though the notice of the election was published in the district on the 4th June; that no person was appointed in the district to receive the nomination papers; that the list of candidates was published on Saturday June 12th, and that notices of withdrawal had to be delivered at Fakenham, a distance of 10 miles, by Monday June 14th, notwithstanding that there was no Sunday post in the district; whether the Education Department would sanction the customary fees payable to the returning officer where he conducts the election in an irregular manner; and, whether the Education Department will give further instructions to the returning officers to perform their duties in a legal manner?


Sir, a letter has been received complaining of alleged irregularities in the election of a school board for Field Dalling. The same reply was sent as is sent in all similar cases, in accordance with the office rule laid down when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) was Vice President, and which he announced in this House. The simplest answer I can give is to read the short reply which was sent— My Lords do not consider they have the machinery to inquire into local disputes as to the validity of an election. If you consider that you have ground to complain of the election for Field Dalling and Saxlingham, you can raise the question of the right of the persons elected to act as members by filing an information in the nature of a quo warranto. As their Lordships are not prepared to exercise jurisdiction in the matter, they do not think it would he proper to offer any opinion on the question you ask. The House is well aware of the extreme delicacy of election inquiries, and of the nice points upon which they turn, and will, therefore, I think, consider this decision a wise one on the part of an administrative department. The legal proceedings here suggested have been taken recently in the case of Hedworth, Monk-ton, and Jarrow, before the Queen's Bench, and in that case the decision as to the remuneration of the Returning Officer was suspended, as it would be in similar ones. "We are, of course, anxious that Returning Officers should perform their duties in a legal manner, but, having had remarkably few complaints on this head, we have no reason at present to believe that any further instructions are needed.