HC Deb 24 March 1885 vol 296 cc517-8

said, he wished to move for a Select Committee "to inquire into and Report on the best mode of Voting in School Board Elections." As he understood that Her Majesty's Government did not object to the Motion, he would not trouble the House with many observations in regard to it. Everyone who had paid any attention to the cumulative system of voting at School Board elections would admit that it involved a great waste of votes. When the cumulative vote was originally proposed by Mr. Marshall the voting was open, and the introduction of the ballot had effected a great change in the operation of the system. In illustration he referred to the case of Lambeth, where, at the last election, Mr. Brook, who was at the head of the poll, received no fewer than 35,000 votes, while 8,200 would have been sufficient to return him; he had, therefore, 26,000 more than he required, and these votes were really wasted. He did not say that this was conclusive; but he thought that such cases raised a fair ground for inquiry. However, as he understood that the Government were going to be so good as to support his Motion, he would not trouble the House with any argument, but would content himself with moving the Resolution.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into and Report on the test mode of Voting in School Board Elections."— (Sir John Lubbock.)


said, he was somewhat reminded in this matter of the saying in reference to "fearing the Greeks when bearing gifts;" and he was not sure that if he had noticed the Motion on the Paper in time he would have allowed the hon. Baronet to bring it on to-night. At that hour of the morning, he was inclined to look with suspicion on an insidious proposal of this kind dealing with the present system of School Board elections. The present system had secured for certain minorities in this country an amount of representation which they would not otherwise have obtained. He was rather surprised to find the hon. Baronet, one of whose chief claims to such public reputation as he had was his desire to secure the representation of minorities by means of proportional representation, signalizing himself by proposing a Motion the direct object of which he maintained was the putting down of a fair representation of minorities in School Board elections. The Roman Catholic population of the country was very well pleased with the existing mode of election; and he imagined the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) was displeased with it because it gave Catholics some power at these elections. He hoped the Government would look very narrowly into the constitution of this Committee.


I can assure the hon. Member that it is not at all my desire to prevent Roman Catholics from being fairly represented.

Motion agreed to.

Select Committee appointed, "to inquire into and Report on the best mode of Voting in School Board Elections'"—(Sir John Lubbock.)