HC Deb 14 March 1893 vol 10 cc21-2

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that Frederick Henderson, a Member of the London County Council, was, on the 9th of March, at the County of London Sessions, convicted of felony, and sentenced to four months' imprisonment with hard labour; whether his attention has been drawn to the remarks of the Judge before sentence, in which, inter alia, he is reported to have said that he hoped it would be regarded as the duty of the public to get Henderson removed from the post he had so unworthily filled; and whether the Local Government Board propose to take any steps in the matter?


This question only appeared on the Paper this morning, and it is obviously a serious inconvenience to the permanent staff of a Department to be called upon in the morning to give a reply to a complicated question which is to be delivered in the House on the evening of the same day. I should be sorry to appear guilty of discourtesy, but so far as my Department is concerned, I must ask for a longer time for the collection of material for answering complicated questions. I will give the hon. Member the best answer I can to his inquiry. A person convicted of felony and sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour is not expressly disqualified by the Local Government Act from holding the office of a County Councillor. But by the general Law under 33 & 34 Viet., cap. 23, section 2 if any person so convicted and sentenced holds any— Military or naval office, or any civil office under the Crown, or other public employment, or any ecclesiastical benefice, or any place, office, or emolument in any University, College, or other corporation, his office becomes vacant. By a later part of the same section a person so convicted and sentenced is rendered incapable of exorcising any municipal franchise, and would therefore seem to be disqualified for acting as a county elector, and such a person appears therefore, under the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act, as applied by the Local Government Act, to be disqualified for the office of County Councillor. The question, however, is a legal one, on which the County Council will no doubt obtain legal advice. It is not a question which the Local Government Board have any power to decide.