§ MR. LAMBERT
On behalf of the right honourable Gentleman the Member for the Ashburton Division of Devonshire, I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether it has been brought to his notice that at the election for the Kingsbridge Urban District Council, on the 4th instant, the returning officer refused a recount to a candidate who was in a minority of one; whether he is aware that the returning officer was the son of one and the nephew of another of the candidates, and that smoking and disorder were permitted during the counting of the votes; and whether he will take steps to prevent similar irregularities in future?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. H. CHAPLIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
It is true that the returning officer in question refused a recount to a candidate who was in a minority of one. It is also the case that the returning officer was the son of one and the nephew of another of the candidates. I ought, I think, to mention, lest it should be inferred that the returning officer was influenced by this relationship, from the form of the right honourable Gentleman's Question, that these two gentlemen received 53 and 103 votes respectively more than the candidate who was defeated by one. There may possibly have been some smoking, which, as the room was a large one, may have escaped the notice of the officer, but it is distinctly denied that there was any disorder. Whether there was disorder or not, it is a matter in which I have no more jurisdiction than the right honourable Gentleman, and the remedy for irregularities, if any occurred, affecting the conduct or result of the election, was open to any candidate aggrieved, by an election petition.
§ MR. LAMBERT
Will the right hon. ourable Gentleman take steps to secure that similar irregularities shall not occur in the future?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
I have already said I have no power to take any steps in the matter, any more than the right honourable Gentleman himself, or any other honourable Member.