HC Deb 18 June 1886 vol 306 cc1862-4

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. John Morley.)

MR. LEWIS (Londonderry)

said he should like to know whether Her Majesty's Government thought there was any necessity for additional Revising Barristers in Ireland, seeing that in a great many counties there would be no contests and the Revising Barristers' work would be of a merely formal character. The appointment of one additional Revising Barrister in Ireland, under the circumstances, would be a scandal, yet, by the Bill, it was proposed to appoint 12.


said, that the Government were bound to provide for special emergencies, for there was no certainty of there being no contests in the Registration Courts, although a great number might not be anticipated. It was therefore necessary to make some provision. Last year 39 additional Revising Barristers were appointed in Ireland; but, on the present occasion, probably 12 at most would meet the emergency. That would be the outside number; but it might not be necessary to appoint so many. He was informed that unless some additional Barristers were appointed, it was doubtful whether the work could be done in time.

MR. BIGGAR (Cavan, W.)

said, he was decidedly of opinion that, although nothing like so many additional Revising Barristers would be required as last year, there would still be necessity for some.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 (Short title) agreed to.

Clause 2 (Power to appoint additional revising barristers).

MR. LEWIS (Londonderry)

I do not intend to make a speech upon this subject again, and I do not intend to divide the Committee upon it; but, notwithstanding what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, I repeat, most emphatically, that no one need go further in regard to the last Election than the counties of Mayo, Kerry, and Cork, or indeed the whole of the South of Ireland, to know that there was practically an entire absence of opposition, and that à fortiori registration was unnecessary. The right hon. Gentleman intimates that the appointment of some 12 additional Revising Barristers is contemplated. I do not know whether I shall have a seat in the next Parliament, or not; but if I have, I shall certainly call attention to the manner in which the provisions of this Bill shall have been carried out, and the amount of work executed, which I need scarcely say I shall, in the meantime, narrowly watch. I believe the appointment of additional Revising Barristers to be a great scandal. I have no hesitation in saying again, that the appointment of only one additional Revising Barrister will be a great scandal. Prior to the extension of the franchise, there were many counties in Ireland which were capable of being contested by the two great political Parties; but in a largo majority of cases, since the extension of the franchise, there is nothing like effective or active opposition. Election contests are altogether dead, and, therefore, à fortiori, there is no necessity for registration. I believe that there are no grounds whatever for the introduction of this Bill, and the Chief Secretary for Ireland has certainly given none. I shall watch the matter most narrowly. No doubt, many barristers will apply for these appointments; and when it is known that there are to be 12 extra appointments, I have very little doubt that there will be at least 244 applications for them, notwithstanding the fact that the pay is by no means excessive. Speaking with considerable knowledge upon the matter, I think it is more than probable that many of the Revising Barristers appointed this year, will have nothing but mere formal work to do.


I did not say that 12 new appointments would absolutely be made, but that, in my opinion, 12 was the outside number. If there are 244 applications, all I can say is that about 240 of those who make them will probably find that they have been misled.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 3 (Interpretation) agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; read the third time, and passed.