HC Deb 01 March 1886 vol 302 cc1521-2

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether he is aware that, in the preparation of the Lists of Parliamentary Voters in 1885, the overseers in many parishes omitted or misdescribed either the nature of the qualification or the description of the qualifying property of the voter, or both, and that the Revising Barristers are, in many instances, not empowered to rectify such omissions or misdescriptions except upon declarations or claims made by the voters, who may be unaware of the defect in the Lists, and, if aware, can only take the steps necessary to rectify them at considerable trouble and expense; and, whether, pending the preparation of any general measure dealing with the Registration of Voters, the Government will introduce a short Bill giving power to Revising Barristers to retain on the Lists of Voters the name of every person inserted therein who shall be shown to have a proper qualification, notwithstanding any mistake in the List as to its nature or description, and for that purpose to make any necessary amendment in the Lists, and giving power to Revising Barristers to enforce the payment of costs by an overseer guilty of negligence in the preparation of any List?


said: In reply to my hon. Friend, I have to say that I am aware that the overseers in many parishes make mistakes in the preparation of their lists. I am also aware that the power of the Revising Barristers to rectify such mistakes is limited, and might advantageously be enlarged; but I do not think that a Bill can well be brought in for this purpose only independently of a general measure dealing with the registration of voters. That, however, is a matter more for the Local Government Board than for the Home Office; and I hope to be able to confer with my right hon. Friend the President of that Board on the subject. I may, however, say that, under the law as it stands, Revising Barristers have the power to fine overseers for neglect; but I do not think it possible to make the overseer responsible for the cost of claimants incurred in making the necessary amendments.