§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
said this was a Bill to extend the School 1206 Board franchise in Scotland. At present, there was a curious anomaly, under which hundreds of electors who could vote for a Member of Parliament or a County Councillor, could not vote at a School Board election. Obviously a School Board election was far more interesting to parents than even a County Council election; and all the 1207 Bill said was that all persons entitled to vote at a County Council election should be entitled to vote at a School Board election. If the voter were qualified to vote at a County Council election surely the ought to be qualified to vote at a School Board election. It was to remove that anomaly that the Bill was brought in, and he hoped the House would pass the Second Reading. He begged to move.
§ SIR FREDRICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)
said he was surprised that the hon. Member should have moved the Second Reading of the Bill at such a late hour, because the lion. Member himself shad always laid t down as one of the first principles to be observed in this House that no Bill should be taken at ten minutes to midnight; and that all Bills required proper consideration. He had heard the hon. Member on more occasions than one move to report Progress because a Bill could not be considered in the time that remained. The ground on which, as far as he could gather, the hon. Member moved the second reading was that people in Scotland were more interested in School Board elections than in elections for Parliament or the County Councils. He, however, failed to see why electors in Scotland should have a greater interest in School Board elections than in Parliamentary elections. Did the hon. Member contend that a School Board election was more important than a Parliamentary election?
§ MR. CALDWELL said that the electors ought to be qualified to vote at both elections.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY said that at the present moment they were 1208 not qualified by law to vote at School Board elections; and the hon. Member thought they should, because School Board elections were more important than Parliamentary elections. He ventured to disagree with the hon. Gentleman. An hon. Member had just given interesting figures which showed that 87 per cent, of the electors voted at Parliamentary elections, and only 30 per cent, at School Board elections. That showed that the electors in Scotland did not agree with the hon. Gentleman that School Board elections were more important than Parliamentary elections. It seemed to him that because a certain number of persons were qualified to vote at County Council elections that was no reason why they should be qualified to vote at School Board elections. A man who was only rated at £4 would not contribute very much to the expenditure of the School Board; and the old principle that taxation and representation should go together should be applied. Human nature being such as it was, a man who contributed only a little, would not be anxious that the expenditure should be kept down.
§ And, it being Midnight, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed to-morrow.