HC Deb 25 June 1880 vol 253 cc842-3

asked Mr. Attorney General, If he will state the position of the House in relation to its power, when, on the trial of an Election Petition, the Judge has reported the existence of extensive corruption?


in reply, said, he was glad to have the opportunity of correcting an inaccurate report of what he had said with respect to the action of the House on Election Petitions. He would briefly state the position of the House in relation to its power over the Reports of Election Judges. In cases in which a Report was made to the House that extensive corrupt practices had prevailed, it was within the power of the House, under the Statute of 1852, to move for a joint Address with the other House to Her Majesty, representing that a report of extensive corrupt practices had been received, and praying that a Royal Commission might issue to inquire into the existence of such corrupt practices. By the Statute of 1863, the obligation was cast on Committees of the House in all cases of bribery and corruption to Report to the House whether such practices had extensively prevailed. The Statute of 1868 transferred the obligation to the Judges, and the House had the power, but not the imperative duty, of moving an Address in the terms he had mentioned to the Crown jointly with the other House. It was usual to regard the Report of the Judges as final; but it was within the power of the House to review their Reports.


asked, Whether any real difference of facts was implied in the distinction between the two forms, "corrupt practices have extensively prevailed" and "there is reason to believe that corrupt practices have extensively prevailed?"


replied, that the latter form was, in his opinion, equivalent to a direct Report of corrupt practices.