§ MR. LEWIS
asked the honourable Member for Walsall, Whether, in consequence of the last Report of the Committee on Public Petitions stating that in the Petition in favour of the Affirmation Bill, presented by Mr. Labouchere on the 23rd of April last, from a place called Suay, the Committee were of opinion that many of the names are in the same handwriting, and that the Orders of the House relating to the signatures to Petitions have not been complied with, it is the intention of the honourable Member to take any and what further steps in the matter?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Perhaps the hon. Baronet will also be able to state whether it is a fact that one person may sign Petitions for others with their consent; and, whether he has any reason to suppose that these inhabitants of Suay did not give their consent to the persons who, it appears, signed more than once?
§ SIR CHARLES FORSTER
, in reply, said, that the Petition referred to in the Question was a very small one. It had only 87 names appended to it. Of that number some 17 or 18 were undoubtedly in the handwriting of the same person. No doubt, this was an infraction of the Rules of the House, which the Committee, in accordance with their usual practice, noticed in their Report, and the names were not counted among the signatures. With regard to the Question of the hon. Member for Northampton, in accordance with the Standing Orders, if a person signed for others the fact ought to be notified at the bottom of the sheet. He was not instructed by the Committee to whom Petitions were referred to take any action in the matter to which the attention of the House had been drawn, and therefore it was not his intention to take action.