HC Deb 26 February 1895 vol 30 cc1567-9

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board if, where a charge has been made by a Returning Officer for preparing for an election for a Parish Council, which charge has been defrayed from private sources, and no other expense has been incurred by the Parish Council, it will be necessary to have such charge (the amount of which is fixed by the County Council) audited under Section 58 of the Local Government Act, 1894; whether, in such a case, a 5s. stamp will be required on one of the duplicate financial statements to be laid before the auditor; whether the person attending the audit on behalf of the Parish Council will be entitled to mileage; and, whether the rules to be issued by the Board, under Section 58, Sub-Section (3) of The Local Government Act, 1894, will make provision for those cases in which the expense of an audit may equal or exceed the total of the sum to be audited?


When the charges of a Returning Officer have been defrayed from private sources and not by the Parish Council, and no other expense has been incurred by the Parish Council, the Board do not consider that it will be necessary that the charge should be audited under Section 58 of the Local Government Act, 1894, and no Stamp Duty would be required to be paid. When a person attends the audit on behalf of a Parish Council the question whether he would be entitled to mileage would depend upon the terms of his appointment, and I do not think there is any probability of cases occurring in which the expense of an audit may equal or exceed the total sum to be audited.

MR. A. F. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that, at the election of Parish Councillors, considerable expense and inconvenience have been caused in several parishes by one elector alone having demanded a poll under Rule 14 issued by the Local Govern- ment Board; and whether he will consider the advisability of altering that rule so as to make it necessary for five electors to demand a poll, in conformity with the First Schedule of the Local Government Act, 1894?


I may remind the hon. Member that, by the Schedule to which he refers, a poll may be demanded by any one parochial elector as regards many matters of minor importance compared with the question of the election of Members of a Parish Council. For instance, one person has the right to demand a poll with regard to the appointment of an Overseer or Assistant Overseer, or of any Parish Officer, or the Trustees or beneficiaries of charities. Looking to the provisions in the Schedule I do not consider that I should be justified in imposing more stringent conditions as regards the poll in the case of the election of Parish Councillors than in the cases referred to.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that this inconvenience was felt equally by both parties, and whether it had been found that gentlemen holding the same opinions as those entertained on the opposite side of the House had caused as much inconvenience as gentlemen holding the opinions held on his own side of the House.


I have not looked at the matter from a party point of view at all. I believe there have been more cases where inconvenience has been caused by a single person demanding a poll. It is one of the incidents of the election, and I do not think that on account of a case of that kind occurring here I should take on myself the duty of saying that a poll must be demanded by more than one gentleman. I have to regard the question from a purely legal point of view, having regard to the requirements of the Act.

*MR. WALTER H. LONG (Liverpool, West Derby)

May I ask whether, if it should become apparent that a change would be approved of by all classes, the right hon. Gentleman would then be prepared to make the necessary alterations in the rules of the Local Government Board?


If I found a general desire in that direction I would take that into consideration.


asked whether during the discussion on the Bill it was not generally understood that five electors would be necessary to demand a poll.


I have searched "Hansard" for any indication to the effect, and can find no reference to the subject.

Forward to