HC Deb 10 April 1877 vol 233 cc911-4

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 to 5 inclusive, agreed to.


moved to insert a new clause after Clause 5 extending the provisions of the Bill to Ireland. He could not see any reason why the property qualification should exist in Ireland with regard to Town Councils when it had been abolished in England.


said, the municipal laws of Ireland were different from those of England, and that there was now a Committee sitting to inquire into the former. He hoped the hon. Member would not press his Motion now, but would bring it up on the Report, when he would consider the question.


said, the property qualification had been abolished in England; but in Ireland no one was qualified to sit in the Town Councils, unless he had a property qualification, and resided in a house with a rental of £25. What the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) sought to do was to abolish this unjust state of things in Ireland as it had been abolished in England.


thought that before Bills of this kind were introduced, the question of how Irish as well as English law would be affected should be considered. Some legal authority ought to consider how far any measure introduced for the benefit of England could be applied to Ireland. He should support the clause moved by the hon. Member for Cavan. He would oppose the progress of this Bill at every stage, unless the same advantages were to be extended to Ireland that were proposed for England.


said, he saw no good reason why Irish Members should offer opposition to a useful measure for England which English Members would be quite ready to support for Ireland if another Bill were introduced for that country.


said, ho could not complain that Irish Members should wish to share in the benefits of the measure. In Scotland no qualification was exacted, and England and Ireland ought not to exact a qualification. But he deprecated such opposition as that threatened by the hon. Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon).


said, there was more in this matter than some hon. Members seemed to think, and if they were to legislate for England, Scotland, and Ireland as one country, they should hear less of Home Rule. At the same time, he thought the remark of the right hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was reasonable, and he would suggest that the Amendment should be withdrawn and brought forward on the Report.


supported the new clause.


said, if it was desirable to insert the clause, it could be very well inserted on the Report. A Select Committee was now inquiring for the second Session into this very subject, and it was not desirable to propose any legislation until the Report of that Committee had been presented to the House. The Bill would also require very considerable alteration in order to adapt it so as to meet the views of the hon. Member for Cavan. The 4th clause referred solely to Acts regulating municipal government in England and Wales, and that would have to be altered if the proposed new clause was adopted.


supported the clause, and said the Chief Secretary for Ireland seemed to forget that the Irish and English Municipal Acts were both framed alike. That being so, he did not see why, if an alteration had to be made in the English Act, the same should not apply to Ireland. He should support the hon. Member for Cavan if he went to a division, and he thought the hon. Gentleman ought to press the question to a division.


said, that private Members had always found a difficulty upon introducing Bills on this or any other subject, and he thought if the present Bill were passed, the hands of Irish Members would be strengthened in their efforts to extend the municipal privileges in Ireland. When the Committee now sitting upon the subject of Local Taxation in Ireland had presented their Report, Irish Members would be able to refer to the Bill, and claim the same benefit for Ireland.


saw in the fact just mentioned, that Irish Members had always met with difficulty in legislating on their municipal law, a reason why advantage should be taken of the present opportunity.


moved that Progress be reported. If the Committee went to a division then they would do so on a false issue. He had always supported the view that legislation for Ireland, Scotland, and England should proceed together; but a question of that importance could not be decided by a division, after a short discussion, at half-past 12.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again,"— (Mr. Pease.)


hoped that the Motion would be withdrawn, and the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cavan considered on the Report.


said, he was one of those who had been accused of obstructing the Business of the House. He had never denied or affirmed the accusation, but who were obstructing in the present instance? He did not think the Irish Members ought to be deserted by the Liberals below the Gangway. To bring up the Amendment on the Report would embarrass the Bill; and, probably, there would not be such a fair opportunity of discussing the clause in a businesslike way. He hoped the House would be allowed to take a division on the clause.


rose to address the Committee; but the cries for "Progress" and "Division" prevented any part of the hon. Member's speech being heard.


said, he did not think that the spirit of retaliation manifested that night would conduce to the dignity of the House. He would propose to omit the recital of the Bill, so as to allow the Irish Members to propose any Amendments they pleased on Report if the hon. Members for Durham (Mr. Pease) and Cavan (Mr. Biggar) would withdraw their Motions.


said, he would withdraw his Motion.


said, he would withdraw his Motion on the understanding that he should be at liberty to bring his new clause forward on Report.


thought the case of London ought also to be considered.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.