HC Deb 30 March 1883 vol 277 cc1113-4

asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether he intends bringing in a Bill suspending the election of Members to serve in Parliament for the boroughs scheduled in the statutes of 1880, 1881, and 1882?


Sir, I presume there is some inaccuracy in the framing of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Question. The boroughs scheduled in the statutes he refers to were those which retained a Member, and did not include all those reported to the House, and which were left without any Representatives. I presume the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Question is intended to refer to all those constituencies. [Captain AYLMER: Yes; to all.] Then, as to them, I have to say that the Government do intend to introduce a Bill dealing both with the constituencies as a whole, and with the individual voters scheduled as guilty of corrupt practices. Such a Bill was introduced in the last Session, and I regret that the urgent demands upon the time of Parliament prevented that Bill being properly proceeded with. But, on the other hand, I have always felt that some advantage may be derived from dealing with the general question of corrupt practices by the Bill now before the House, before proceeding with the punitive legislation affecting those reported constituencies. It may well be that the judgment of the House as to the extent of the punishment to be inflicted will be affected by the consideration of the probability of these corrupt practices being repeated; and, if general legislation rendered such repetition improbable, such a fact might not be without its materiality. Having said this, I can assure the House that the Government are fully aware of the importance of the subject referred to in the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Question.


gave Notice that in consequence of the reply of the hon. and learned Gentleman he would, on an early day, call attention to the subject.