HC Deb 04 February 1881 vol 258 c169

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he was aware that, owing to the restricted state of the franchise in Ireland as compared with that existing in England and Scotland, a vast majority of the ratepayers in that country had no votes for Members of that House, and that consequently their voices could not be heard at the present crisis?


Sir, I am aware that the state of the franchise in Ireland is very much more restricted than it is in England or Scotland. I am aware that it was so fixed at the time when the subject of the franchise was re-considered, and it was rather to my surprise that it was so fixed with the general assent of the Representatives of Ireland. I am also aware, and the hon. Member is aware, that Her Majesty's Government were very desirous to find a remedy for that state of things last Session, by introducing a Bill which the pressure of Parliamentary Business did not permit them to pass; and I may say that we should have been very desirous to re-introduce that Bill during the present Session, and probably to pass it, had we had no reason to believe that very serious obstacles would be placed in the way of Public Business.