§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
had on the Paper the following Notice of Motion:—That it be an Instruction to the Committee to insert provisions in the Bill for the extension of the Municipal Franchise to all Parliamentary voters having qualification in the municipal borough of Kilkenny, except lodgers, and to such women as would, but for their sex, have been Parliamentary voters (other than lodgers), and to provide that the lodgers' lists of the Borough shall be revised and made up by the same persons and about the same time as the Parliamentary register.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The Instruction of the hon. Member is out of order. The Provisional Orders (No, 1) Bill merely enables the town of Kilkenny to take compulsory powers to acquire land for waterworks. An Instruction proposing to extend the municipal franchise would be out of order on that Bill, and therefore I cannot put it.
§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
On the point of order, may I point out that a similar Instruction was carried last Session in regard to the Dublin Corporation Bill, which only proposed to give power to the Corporation of Dublin to charge for water which they were previously empowered to sell. This is a Bill for the construction of waterworks which will cost the citizens £60,000, and out of a population of over 11,000 there are only 247 persons entitled to vote in the municipal borough. I might also remind you, Sir, that, in the case of Armagh, last Session a similar Instruction was put upon the Paper. It was withdrawn, and in the Committee, without the knowledge of this House, clauses extending the franchise to Armagh were 1572 inserted. In view of these circumstances I was in hopes that you would see your way to allow the House to pass this Instruction, which is not opposed. I have an assurance by the Government that it is not opposed. The Corporation of Kilkenny have passed resolutions unanimously in its favour—and the Corporation is composed of four political parties—and the citizens have also, by resolution, approved it.
§ MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
The hon. Gentleman says this Instruction is unopposed. I came down to the House to oppose it, and should have persisted in my opposition had it not been ruled out of order.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I am quite clear that it is out of order. As to the case of Armagh, which the hon. Gentleman mentions, the Instruction was not withdrawn until I had ruled it out of order. In the course of the Debate on the Second Reading the hon. Member who put down the Instruction asked me whether it was in order. I said it was not, and that is the reason it was withdrawn. What happened in Committee upon that Bill was not brought under my notice. If it had been, I might possibly have had something to say on the subject. As far as any statement in this House as to what took place in the Committee is concerned, I hear it now for the first time. As regards the Dublin Corporation Bill, the hon. Member who moved that Instruction gave me an assurance very similar to that which has just been given by the hon. Member for Kilkenny—namely, that it was an unopposed Instruction, and was moved by general consent; and, as it was an Instruction on a matter which had been much debated in the House, and as I understood from what was stated in the House, without any contradiction, that it was in the nature of a compromise on a subject which it was desirable to settle, and as everyone was agreed upon it, I allowed the Instruction to pass. But I expressly stated that I doubted very much whether it was in order, and that nothing, except the assurance that the Instruction was unopposed, would have induced me to have allowed it to pass. Therefore it cannot 1573 in any way be taken as a precedent, and certainly the results of allowing it to go on are not such as to encourage further experiments in the same direction. I am quite clear that this Instruction is out of order.