HC Deb 01 September 1880 vol 256 cc996-8

Motion made, and Question proposed, That an humble Address he presented to Her Majesty as followeth:— Most Gracious Sovereign, We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave humbly to represent to Your Majesty that the honourable George Denman, one of the Justices of the High Court of Justice, and Sir Henry Lopes, knight, one of the Justices of the High Court of justice, being two of the Judges appointed for the trial of Election Petitions, pursuant to 'The Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868,'and' The Parliamentary Elections and Corrupt Practices Act, 1879,' have reported to the House of Commons that they had reason to believe that corrupt practices extensively prevailed at the last Election for the City of Canterbury: We therefore humbly pray Your Majesty that Your Majesty will be graciously pleased to cause inquiry to be made pursuant to the powers of the Act of Parliament passed in the sixteenth year of the reign of Your Majesty, intituled,' An Act to provide for the more effectual inquiry into the existence of Corrupt Practices of Elections for Members to serve in Parliament,' by the appointment of Arthur Charles, esquire, one of Your Majesty's Counsel, Albert Venn Dicey, esquire, barrister at law, and Robert Samuel Wright, esquire, barrister at law, as Commissioners, for the purpose of making inquiry into the existence of such corrupt practices."—(Mr. Attorney General.)


asked the Attorney General whether the proposed Commissions would be instructed to take into consideration the quality and character of the various constituencies. Out of the eight constituencies to be brought up for trial six contained the impure element of freemen, and only one, that of Macclesfield, was without freemen or other hereditary voters. He, therefore, wished to know how far the Commissioners would be empowered to inquire into the proceedings of the freemen as a class in connection with the elections?


replied that the Commissioners were bound to report, according to the Statute, on certain heads of inquiry. The question of the nature of the constituency was one that did not come under those heads, but it would be within the power of the Commissioners, if the circumstances seemed to require it, to state that corrupt practices prevailed to a greater extent among the freemen or among the ordinary inhabitants of the boroughs concerned.

Motion agreed to.

Then the same Resolutions, mutatis mutandis, in respect of the Elections at Chester, Macclesfield, Knaresborough, Boston, Oxford, and Sandwich, moved and agreed to.

Ordered, That the said Addresses be communicated to The Lords, and their concurrence desired thereto.—[Mr. Attorney General.)

Message from The Lords,—Election Petitions,—That they do request, that this House will be pleased to communicate to their Lordships, Copies of the Minutes of the Evidence taken at the trials of the Gloucester Election Petition, the Canterbury Election Petition, the Chester Election Petition, the Macclesfield Election Petition, the Knaresborough Election Petition, the Boston Election Petition, the Oxford Election Petition, and the Sandwich Election Petition.

Copies to be communicated.