HC Deb 23 March 1876 vol 228 cc551-4

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [22nd March], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.


remarked that, although this Bill was a very short one, it was of a very important character, inasmuch as it re-opened the whole question both of the franchise and of registration; and he objected to the House being asked to read it a second time without a word of explanation having been given.

MR. EVANS moved the adjournment of the debate.

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


said, he explained the Bill on several occasions last year. Its object was simply to prevent persons who left their house for a little time and let it during their absence from being disfranchised for the year on account of such temporary non-occupation. Hon. Members opposite were under a misapprehension as to the true character of the Bill, and he felt it his duty to press its second reading that night.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 76; Noes 134: Majority 58.

Original Question again proposed.

MR. DILLWYN moved the Adjournment of the House, repeating the objection that a Bill of so important a character should be forced on the House without any explanation.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Dillwyn.)

The House divided:—Ayes 79; Noes 122: Majority 43.

Original Question again proposed.


said, that as this Bill, to a certain extent, opened up the whole question of representation, he thought they ought to be very careful how they handled such a subject, and as Her Majesty's Government had refused to give any explanation upon the subject, he begged to move the Adjournment of the Debate.


seconded the Motion.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Macdonald.)

The House divided:—Ayes 76; Noes 118: Majority 42.

Original Question again proposed.


said, he thought the House was getting into a rather false position in regard to that Bill. He was not present when its second reading was moved, but the Bill was introduced last Session, and passed through all its stages up to the third reading. It was affirmed by a considerable majority, and was supported by the Secretary of War on be half of the Government. It only failed to obtain a third reading owing to the difficulty which measures brought forward by private Members often had to encounter. It had now been re-introduced by the hon. Member for Christchurch, and it appeared to him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) to be one of a very reasonable character, the object being the removal of a disqualification which applied to a certain number of persons who lost their votes by reason of letting their houses for a certain time. The Bill having been discussed last Session, it was not unreasonable to proceed with the discussion on the second reading at a quarter past 12 o'clock. He did not know how a measure of this sort was to be fairly discussed, if the tactics which had been adopted were to be pursued. It had been said that the Government ought to have expressed some views with regard to this Bill. They had done so on a former occasion, and saw no reason to change their opinion that it was a reasonable Bill. He hoped the House would not persevere in the determination not to discuss the measure; and that if it was found inconvenient to spend much more time over it to-night, they would allow the second reading to be taken, and discuss it in Committee.


thought the Bill would not do any good on that (the Liberal) side of the House. Nobody on that side understood it, and those who understood it on the other side had an object which could not be mistaken. He moved that the House do now adjourn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Locke.)


considered the Bill to be perfectly equitable, and was sorry that hon. Members on his side of the House had taken the course they had pursued with regard to it.


believed that the Bill infringed the principle of the Reform Act of 1867. At any rate it was fragmentary, and a measure of this nature ought to be in the hands of the Government.


said, the Bill was intended to remedy an oversight of the Reform Act; and if the House would agree to the second reading, he would fix the Committee for a time which would allow of further discussion.


thought they ought to proceed at once with the discussion.


replied that it was unjust to accuse the supporters of the Bill of not having given full opportunity for discussing its provisions last year and during the present Session.


argued that this Bill did not violate any principle of the Reform Act.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 71; Noes 106: Majority 35.

Original Question again proposed.


said, it was not a favourable time for a man to make his "maiden speech." He had been in the House now 13 hours, and, feeling that it was unreasonable to proceed further with the Bill at that hour, he moved the Adjournment of the Debate.


seconded the Motion.

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


thought, under the circumstances, that it was advisable to adjourn the debate.

Question put, and agreed to.

Debate further adjourned till Tomorrow.