HC Deb 26 July 1915 vol 73 cc2092-4

In the City of London this Act shall apply as regards elections to the Common Council, but in the case of a vacancy, casual or otherwise, occurring in the office of aldermen or ward offier that vacancy shall be filled by election on the register existing at the time of the passing of this Act.

This Act shall not apply to elections in Common Hall.

Clause brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."


Why is there to be an exception made in the case of the City of London. We generally get an explicit statement from the hon. Baronet, but he has not given any reason at all why this exception should be made.


The Corporation of the City of London is not included in this Bill, and this proposal deals with the election of the Lord Mayor, and provides that he shall be elected on the 9th of November. That is the only exception, except one or two minor officials. As for the rest of the City Corporation, they will be brought into line with all other corporations in the Kingdom.

Question put, and agreed to; Clause added to the Bill.

Bill reported, with Amendments.


I wonder whether the House would be good enough to allow me now to take the Report stage? There are two matters to be dealt with, but I do not see my way now to deal with the question of casual vacancies. Most of the Amendments which we have introduced in Committee have been matters of detail, and perhaps the House, in the circumstances, would permit this Bill to pass through its remaining stages.

Bill, as amended, considered.


I understand that you are taking the consideration on Report?


Yes, that seems to me to be the view of the House. Have you any Amendment?


Yes. I beg to move, in Clause 1, Sub-section (2), at the end to add the words, Provided that a person so chosen shall hold office only until the next statutory election of councillors or guardians, and provided also that nothing in this Sub-section shall alter the law regulating the filling of a casual vacancy in Scotland or Ireland. I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman has indicated that he is not prepared on the consideration on Report to deal with this question of casual vacancies with which he has undertaken to deal, but I would suggest that I should be allowed to move my Amendment—subject, of course, to alteration later on. It would be quite possible to adjust the words in another place. I have given them a little attention from the point of view of the law since the Debate took place, although the right hon. Gentleman has not had time to do so, and I have discovered that the circumstances both in Ireland and Scotland are different from those which hold good in England, and for that reason I think it is important that the law as it affects Ireland and Scotland should be left as it is. As far as I am able to judge, the words of my Amendment will carry out exactly what the right hon. Gentleman foreshadowed in his speech, but, if necessary, they could be put in proper form in another place.


I confess that I have a strong objection to taking Amendments which I have heard in their precise form for the first time, because it is very difficult to tell what will be the exact effect upon a measure by an Amendment introduced at very short notice At the same time I realise that the Government are being treated with very great consideration and generosity in taking this measure through its various stages, and I am willing to come to a compromise with my right hon. Friend. I am quite willing to accept these words upon the clear understanding that I reserve to the Government the absolute right to remove or to alter them in another place if we think it necessary, and that I am not committed to their precise form or to their acceptance.


I quite understand that, and I cannot expect anything else.

Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed.