HC Deb 21 January 1878 vol 237 cc302-4

Order for Second Reading road.


in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, the object of the measure was a very simple one—namely, to enable the voters, especially of towns, to let their houses for a short period without being struck off the electoral register. At present, if a house was let as a furnished house to any person, oven for a day', the original occupier of it was disqualified. That led to a great deal of trouble in registration, especially in watering places, whore persons were in the habit of adding to their income by letting their houses for a short period. In the borough which he represented (Christchurch) the voters of both parties were put to considerable inconvenience by that state of the law, and if this measure wore passed it would give great relief to constituencies of that character. If a lodging-house keeper lived in a garret and let the rest of his house he kept his vote; while anyone who let his whole house, even for a short period, was disqualified. Two years ago, for instance, a gallant Admiral belonging to the Liberal Party living at Bournemouth had lent his house to another gallant Admiral, and had been put to great expense to come up and defend his vote. In Scotland the agents made an agreement on both sides not to raise this objection; and it was desired to extend the Bill to Scotland. He hoped that the House would, at any rate, after so many years' attempt on his part to pass it, agree to the second reading.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second tinio."—(Sir H. Drummond Wolff.)


said, the hon. Member for Stockton (Mr. Dodds), whose name was down for opposing the second reading, was not present, and that he did not himself intend to oppose the Bill at this stage; but must reserve his right with regard to going into Committee. The chief objections which had been urged by himself and others against the measure wore not directed against its principle: what he and others had argued from that side was that there were many other hardships of a similar kind which ought to be dealt with, and that, therefore, the measure ought to be more comprehensive. However, it was so unmistakably the opinion of the House that this particular hardship should be dealt with separately, that he should not oppose the second reading.


said, his only objection to the statement of the hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill was that the measure did not apply to Scotland, where there was a strong feeling as to the necessity for the proposed change He wished that the operation of the Bill could be extended to that country. It was very much the practice in Scotland for people at the seaside to go to the Highlands for a few weeks, letting their houses, and for people in the Highlands to come to the seaside— there was a sort of temporary exchange of houses, and it was very hard that the suffrage should be lost.


explained that the reason why the Bill was confined to England and Wales was that it sought to remove an anomaly under the 33rd Section of the Representation of People Act, which was confined to England alone. He believed the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) intended to introduce a measure dealing with Scotland.

Motion agreed to.

Bill road a second time, and committed for To-morrow.