HC Deb 11 June 1888 vol 326 cc1693-4

asked the Chairman of the Select Committee on Public Petitions, Whether it is regular to obtain signatures to a Petition by payment at so much per signature; and, whether a Petition, for which signatures have been thus collected, when presented, is passed by the Committee?


The practice of obtaining signatures to Petitions by the payment of so much per head is a most reprehensible one, detracting from the value of the Petition, and leading to such frauds and scandals as those with which the House had to deal in the last Session; but, except on the ground of informality, the Committee on Public Petitions are not empowered to reject Petitions which have been received by the House, This could only be done by the House itself. I may remind my hon. Friend, as bearing on his Question, that whenever it appears to the Committee that a large proportion of the signatures are in the same handwriting such fact is always noticed in their Reports. Beyond that they cannot go.