HC Deb 07 August 1885 vol 300 cc1459-60

asked, Why a Question did not appear on the Paper that he had given Notice of as to whether the late Attorney General adhered to his statement that the House was unanimous in objecting to the clause in favour of police enfranchisement he (Mr. Coleridge Kennard) brought forward on the Representation of the People Bill, when the fact was that he withdrew it, and no division was taken?


said, he had the terms of the Question before him, which related to past debates in the House. Such a Question would be irregular.


, in explanation, said, the Question was in allusion to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's (Sir Henry James's) remarks on Monday.


, in making a personal explanation (by leave of the Speaker), said, the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Coleridge Kennard) questioned the accuracy of the statement that the House had unanimously expressed an opinion against embodying the principle of police enfranchisement in the Representation of the People Bill. Now, that statement he (Sir Henry James) adhered to and emphasized. In Committee on the Registration (Occupation Voters) Bill, on the part of the late Government, he had stated the objections to the enfranchisement of the police in answer to the Motion of the hon. Member for Salisbury that the police should be enfranchised; and while speaking the signs of assent in the Committee were so marked that he made his observations very briefly. As soon as he brought his observations to an end two hon. Members rose to their feet. The hon. and learned Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton) was successful in his claim to address the House first, and he said that he had reached a state of happiness which he never expected to enjoy of being able to concur with every word uttered by the Attorney General. The hon. Member for Salisbury then spoke, and he said that, after what had been stated in reply to his Motion, he desired to ask the leave of the House to withdraw the clause, and the House unanimously gave him leave to do so. That appeared to him (Sir Henry James) to represent a state of unanimity on the point—one much better expressed than by taking a division, under which he did not see that unanimity could have occurred; and, therefore, he felt justified in stating that the House unanimously expressed an opinion on the subject of police enfranchisement by rejecting the Motion of the hon. Member.