HC Deb 25 May 1883 vol 279 cc891-2

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. J. Rees, Vestryman, and one of the recently elected Guardians of the Poor of St. James's, Westminster, who was recently for the second time summoned to Great Marlborough Street Police Court, and there fined at the instance of St. James's Vestry for his neglect in removing nuisances from the houses of his tenants; whether the said Mr. J. Pees is one of the persons alleged to have been guilty of undue influence in the recent election of Guardians for that parish, as set forth in a letter addressed to him by certain of the ratepayers of that parish, bearing date the 12th ult.; whether he will direct an official inquiry to be made into the conduct of such election; whether he will cause inquiry to be made into the qualification of Mr. Robert Cocks, one of the recently elected Guardians of the said parish, with the view of deciding whether he is legally qualified to sit and vote as a Guardian; and, whether the authority under which he claims to sit and vote has been supplied to him by the above named Mr. J. Rees?


Sir, the Board have no information as to whether Mr. Rees has been fined, as stated by my hon. Friend; but, assuming that he has, it would not render him legally disqualified for serving as a Guardian. The Board received a letter, dated April 12, with reference to the election of Guardians; but they do not find that Mr. Roes is mentioned in it. At present the Board are in communication with the Returning Officer on the subject of the election, and have not yet determined whether there is any sufficient ground for an official inquiry. The Board are empowered by 5 & 6 Vict., c. 57, s. 8, when any question arises as to the right of a person to act as an elected Guardian, if they shall see fit, to inquire into the circumstances of the case, and to determine the question. The Board have not received any communication calling in question the right of Mr. Cocks to act as a guardian; and in the absence of any appeal to them under the Statute the Board would not be prepared to take any action in the matter.