§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will be able to inform the House before Easter, what course Her Majesty's Government propose to take as to those Boroughs with reference to which the Election Commissioners have reported that Corrupt Practices have extensively prevailed therein at the last General Election?
TILE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
said, he hoped he might be allowed to answer the Question. The House was aware that the Commissioners had made their Report in seven cases, and only one—that of Oxford—remained to be reported upon. These Reports and the evidence were very volu- 353 minous, in one case alone 85,000 questions having been put. Any steps taken either by way of disfranchisement of the boroughs, or suspension of the writ, or disfranchisement of individuals, must be by legislation, and therefore a Bill must be brought into the House. In order to arrive at the degree of punishment that should be inflicted, it would be necessary to inquire into the degree of guilt of the constituencies; and to do that they must take into account not only the schedules with regard to the late elections, but also what had occurred at former elections. Some time must, therefore, elapse before a result was arrived at. Certainly no steps could be taken before Easter.
§ In reply to Colonel TAYLOR,
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
said, he could not state when the remaining Report would be presented.