HC Deb 10 February 1893 vol 8 cc1048-9
MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether the interference of Sheriffs of Counties in Parliamentary elections is permissible under the conditions governing such appointments; whether he is aware that the Sheriff of Perthshire and the Sheriff of Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire were actively engaged as speakers at political meetings during the recent General Election; and will he take such action as may prevent persons occupying a judicial position prominently identifying themselves with the candidates of any particular Party?


The Sheriffs in Scotland are not bound by the regulations which govern the Permanent Civil Service with regard to political action; but it is well established that Judges of the Supreme Court abstain from taking an active part in elections, from a sense that their duty requires them to preserve the confidence of men of all parties in politics; and the same considerations should weigh with the Sheriffs, especially when it is considered that they perform the double function of settling the registration of voters and superintending Parliamentary elections in the character of Returning Officer.

SIR MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbright)

Has the right hon. Gentleman any information that the Sheriffs were actively engaged at public meetings during the last General Election?


I should prefer not to answer that question.