§ This Act shall apply to Scotland, subject to the following modifications:—
§ (1) Unless the context otherwise requires—
- (a) The expression "borough" means "burgh";
- (b) The expression "Parliamentary borough" means a burgh having the right of returning or contributing to return a member or members to Parliament;
- (c) The expression "county borough" means a county of a city;
- (d) The expression "Parliamentary county" means a county, or a combination or counties, having the right of returning a member or members to Parliament;
- (e) The expression "administrative county" means a county in-inclusive of every burgh situated therein except a county of a city;
§ (2) The yearly value of any subjects shall be taken to be the value appearing in the valuation roll where those subjects are separately valued in that roll, and in any other ease shall be deemed to be the value which would in the opinion of the registration officer be entered therein if they were so valued:
§ (3) Without prejudice to the right of a woman in Scotland to be registered as a local government elector for any local government electoral area where she would be entitled to be so registered if she were a man, a woman in Scotland shall only be entitled to be registered as a Parliamentary elector for a constituency (other than a university constituency) on the like conditions as in England, and Section three of this Act shall accordingly apply without modification so far as it constitutes a basis for the Parliamentary franchise as provided in Sub-section (1) of Section four of this Act:
§ (4) For the purpose of the local government franchise the following provisoes shall be substituted for the first proviso enacted in Section three of this Act, that is to say:
- (a) a man occupying in virtue of any office, service, or employment any dwelling-house which is not inhabited by the person under whom he serves; and
- (b) a man occupying as a lodger any room, or rooms, of the yearly value (if let unfurnished) of not less than ten pounds who claims to be registered in respect of such occupation, or, where not more than two men are in the joint occupation of lodgings and the yearly value thereof (if let unfurnished) is not less than twenty pounds, each of such men who claim to be registered in respect of such occupation:
§ The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. Munro)
I beg to move, in Subsection (1, a), to leave out the words "The expression 'borough,'" and to insert instead thereof the words "The word 'borough,' except as used in the expression 'Parliamentary borough.' "
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I would like some explanation of this Amendment. I do not understand where we are at all with regard to these burghs. We have in Scotland a certain class of burghs which are Royal burghs. We have a certain number of Police burghs, and a certain number of Parliamentary burghs. There is an Amendment on the Paper dealing with those Parliamentary burghs which now form part of a group, which are included in the counties, under the redistribution Schedule, and presumably, unless some means are taken to prevent it, will lose their status of Parliamentary burghs. There is the other class which for the first time are being included in groups of burghs, and which, one would think would receive automatically the status of Parliamentary burghs. Whatever it be, it does give certain advantages which other burghs do not possess. My contention, and that of many others, including my right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Gulland), is that the Parliamentary burghs 1787 should retain the status which they have now even if they are included in counties, and on the other hand I would suggest, and later on I hope to propose, that the new burghs—there are not very many of them—which are included in the new Parliamentary groups should receive automatically the status of Parliamentary burghs. I do not know how the Amendment affects the possibility of dealing with those two matters, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would be kind enough to let us have some explanation.
§ Mr. MUNRO
The Amendment which I am moving is purely a drafting Amendment, and does not in any way touch the questions referred to by my hon. Friend, which will arise for subsequent consideration. The expression "Parliamentary borough" as used in this Bill receives a specific meaning, as the House will see, from Sub-section (1) of Clause 30—"each of the areas mentioned in the first column of the first part of Schedule 5 attached to this Act." In order to keep the meaning quite clear it is better not to translate the expression. But I can assure my hon. Friend that the points which he has raised and which I quite concede are important, are in no way affected by the drafting Amendment which I move.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. WATT
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out paragraph (c).
I move this on behalf of my hon. Friend (Mr. Hogge), who is absent. He has three Amendments on the Paper, one of which is to leave out paragraph (e), and to insert the words "the expression 'administrative county' shall not apply to Scotland, but shall mean and be interpreted as a county, inclusive of the burgh or burghs situated therein, except a burgh forming a county of a city." The idea of all these Amendments is to substitute these words, in order to preserve successive registration.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
May I ask why it is proposed to leave out these words? Are they considered superfluous?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. GULLAND
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1),to insert the words, "Where by the operation of this Act any Royal or Parliamentary burgh ceases as a burgh to return a member to Parliament, nothing in this Act shall affect in any other respect the rights and privileges of such burgh as a Royal or Parliamentary burgh, or the rights, privileges, and functions of the magistrates, town council, and officers thereof."
This Amendment is rendered necessary in view of the very large number of burghs in Scotland which cease by the passing of 1789 this Act to have separate burgh representation. I have calculated that there are no fewer than forty-nine burghs in Scotland which cease to return Members of Parliament as burghs—that is, including the burghs so well represented by the right bon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland (Wick Burghs), and incidentally they also include the burghs I have the honour to represent (Dumfries Burghs). When there is that large number of forty-nine, it is very right that this House should be very careful to safeguard the rights and privileges of those burghs. The words that I propose are known to all those burghs, because they are the words of the Act of 1885. I think the fact that those words have been in operation for thirty-two years, with regard to the number of burghs, that by that Act of 1885 ceased to have burgh representation, shows that those words are words which should be accepted by the House as words with which those burghs are quite content. I notice that the Secretary for Scotland has subsequently on the Paper an Amendment of his own dealing with the same question. I confess my prejudice is against it, because he introduces words that are new and that the burghs have really not had much time to consider. The Amendment which I am moving has been on the Paper for quite a long time, whereas that of the right hon. Gentleman has only been down for a day or two. Therefore, these forty-nine burghs, I am afraid, have not had their attention specifically called to his proposal. Another objection I have to the right hon. Gentleman's words is that he mixes up two questions in the one Amendment; he mixes up the question of retaining the status of the old burghs with the question of preventing the new burghs having the status of Parliamentary burghs. I must confess I do not like mixing up those two things. I think, if the right hon. Gentleman does not wish the new burghs to have the status of the old, he should say so in a completely separate paragraph. It does seem to me rather unfair to the old burghs to make the retention of their status depend practically upon not giving that status to the new burghs. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will rather accept the Amendment I have, and which these burghs know and which are historic words, rather than the words of his own, which may mean the same thing but, at any rate, about which those burghs will have some suspicion.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
In seconding the Amendment I cordially support the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman as it stands on the Paper. Not that I for a moment think that it does anything more than in the later Amendment of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland. Whether it is essential that we should maintain the words of the old Statute is not perhaps very material; but it is certainly distinctly material if my right hon. Friend is right in supposing that these two paragraphs of the later Amendment are intended to hang together. If the paragraphs are to be taken separately, as they ought to be, and dealt with separately (a) deals with the status of the existing burghs and retains it for them. That is all very well. If the right hon. Gentleman is at all right in suggesting that (b) depends upon (a), I entirely agree with him that we must hang on to his Amendment and not accept the words of the Secretary for Scotland. I do not, however, believe that my right hon. Friend is correct. Obviously they ought not to hang together. Therefore it is quite immaterial, I think, whether the words of the Secretary of Scotland, which are perfectly ample and preserve the status, or the words of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, are used. I suppose under these circumstances it would not be proper to deal with (b) except to say that if I am correct in my assumption there need be no particular Debate upon this Amendment which is before us, as that of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland is correct.
§ Colonel GREIG
May I point out to the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gulland) that I think his Amendment does not hit the very burghs he wants to preserve. I know where his words come from. They are an exact copy from a Sub-section of the Act of 1885, but it does not hit the point. Let, me explain:Where by the operation of this Act any royal or Parliamentary burgh ceases as a burgh to return a member to Parliament nothing in this Act, ... and so on.Take the case of the burgh which is in my county, not in my constituency. I refer to the borough of Renfrew. It is one of the burghs which now returns a member of Parliament, not [...]y itself, but as one of a group of burghs. It is very questionable whether this Clause, as now suggested, would cover the case of the burgh which 1791 is only one of a group of burghs, and which does not itself return a member. If the hon. Gentleman turns to the Amendment put down by the Secretary for Scotland he will find that these cases are very clearly conserved. That is the case of a burgh which returns a Member and ceases by this Act so to do, by reason of being in a group of burghs which are dissolved, the burghs going into the county.Nothing in this Act shall take effect so as to deprive any Royal or Parliamentary burgh losing separate representation under this Act of any right, privilege, or status, whether for purposes of local government or otherwise, hitherto enjoyed by such burgh as a Royal or Parliamentary burgh.Further down it says that the phrase " 'separate representation,' shall be construed as meaning the right to return, or to contribute as a burgh to return, a Member, or Members, to Parliament." Obviously, that is a legal question which I am afraid would destroy the very object which the right hon. Gentleman has in view if he insists upon his own words; whereas the Secretary for Scotland's later Amendment is absolutely accurate, and covers all.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I would, respectfully, suggest to my right hon. Friend that he should not insist upon this Amendment, but should content himself with discussing the Amendment I propose to move at a later stage. I can assure him that I have taken the very best advice I can get as to the form of my Amendment. I think he will on reflection find that my Amendment is wider than his, and will cover without the least difficulty or doubt such a case as has just been referred to by the hon. and gallant Member behind me. It seems to me entirely proper to construe together the provision of the burghs which lose their present status with the provision in this Bill of the burghs which acquire a new status under the provisions of this Bill. If Mr. Speaker permits it, when I come to my Amendment, I shall put it to the House that they first of all consider (a) and secondly (b). I would, therefore, appeal to my right hon. Friend not to press his Amendment at this stage. The whole matter will be open when we come to discuss my Amendment, and there will be no prejudice.
§ Mr. GULLAND
As the right hon. Gentleman assures me that every point of my 1792 Amendment is covered in his, and as his Amendment is wider than mine, with that assurance I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ "(3) The Section of this. Act relating to local government franchise (men) shall not apply and in lieu thereof—
§ (a) A man who is of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity shall be entitled to be registered as a local government elector for a local government electoral area if he is on the last day of the qualifying period and has been during the whole of that period—
- (i.) the owner of land and heritages within the area of the yearly value of not less than ten pounds: Where lands and heritages are in the joint ownership of two or more persons and the aggregate yearly value of the lands and heritages is not less than the amount produced by multiplying ten pounds by the number of the joint owners each of the joint owners shall be treated as owning lands and heritages of the yearly value of not less than ten pounds; or
- (ii.) the occupier as tenant of lands and heritages (other than a dwelling-house) within the area of the yearly value of not less than ten pounds: Where such lands and heritages are in the joint occupation as tenants of two or more persons and the aggregate yearly value of the lands and heritages is not less than the amount produced by multiplying ten pounds by the number of the joint occupiers each of the joint occupiers shall be treated as occupying lands and heritages of the yearly value of not less than ten pounds; or
- (iii.) the inhabitant occupier as owner or tenant of a dwelling-house within the area; or
- (iv.) the occupier of lodgings within the area of the yearly value if let unfurnished of not less than ten pounds;
- Where lodgings are in the joint-occupation of not more than two
1793 persons and the aggregate yearly value as aforesaid of the lodgings is not less than twenty pounds, each of the joint lodgers shall be treated as occupying lodgings of the yearly value of not less than ten pounds; or
- (b) (i.) the ownership or occupation in immediate succession of different lands and heritages, dwelling-houses, or lodgings, as the case may be, in the same Parliamentary county or in the same Parliamentary borough shall have the like effect in qualifying a man to be registered as a local government elector for a local government electoral area therein, respectively, as the continued ownership or occupation of the same lands and heritages, dwelling-houses, or lodgings within that area; and
- (ii.) the occupation of a dwelling-house shall not be deemed to be interrupted by reason only of permission being given by letting or otherwise for the occupation thereof as a furnished house by some other person for a part of the qualifying period not exceeding three months in the whole;
§ (c) In this Section "owner" has the same meaning as "proprietor" in the Valuation Acts, "lands and heritages" has the same meaning as in those Acts, and "dwelling-house" means any house or part of a house occupied as a separate dwelling;
§ (4) Sub-section one of the Section of this Act relating to franchise (women) shall not apply, and in lieu thereof—
- (a) A woman who is not subject to any legal incapacity shall be entitled to be registered as a Parliamentary elector for a constituency (other than a university constituency) if she has attained the age of thirty years and if either she or her husband is on the last day of the qualifying period occupying jointly or severally as owner or tenant any land or premises in the constituency (hereinafter in this Sub-section called "the qualifying premises"), and has during the whole of the qualifying period so occupied any land or premises in the
1794 county or county of a city in which the qualifying premises are situated:
§ Provided that for the purposes of this Sub-section—
- (i.) the word "tenant" shall include a person who inhabits by virtue of any office, service, or employment any dwelling-house which is not inhabited by any person under whom he serves in such office, service, or employment;
- (ii) the word "tenant" shall not include a person who occupies a room or rooms as a lodger except where such room or rooms are let to him or her in an unfurnished state;
- (iii) a woman, though she or her husband may have been occupying land or premises in the constituency on the last day of the qualifying period, shall not be entitled to be so registered if she or her husband, as the case may be, commenced to occupy the land or premises within thirty days before the end of the qualifying period and ceased to occupy them within thirty days after the commencement of such occupation;
- (iv) the occupation of a house shall not be deemed to be interrupted by reason only of permission being given by letting or otherwise for the occupation of the house as a furnished house by some other person for a part of the qualifying period not exceeding four months in the whole;
- (v) not more than two persons shall be deemed to be joint occupiers of the same land or premises unless they are bon â fide engaged as partners carrying on their profession, trade, or business in the premises; and>
- (vi.) the word "county" means a county inclusive of all burghs therein except a county of a city, and the word "dwelling-house" means any house or part of a house occupied as a separate dwelling.
§ (b) A woman registered by virtue of this Section shall be deemed to be registered by virtue of her own or her husband's local government qualification.
§ This Amendment, although it looks a rather formidable one, is merely a drafting Amendment. As the Bill stands, the provisions of the local government franchise for men are to be found by 1795 reading together Clause 3 of the Bill along with Clause 36, Sub-section (4). Again, the provisions which give the Parliamentary franchise to women are to be found by reading together Clause 4 along with Clause 36, Sub-section (3) of the Bill. That is to say, you have to take different parts of the Bill so as to arrive at the local government franchise for men, or to arrive at the Parliamentary franchise for women. Legislation by reference this House has always considered to be undesirable, and it has been represented to me from various influential quarters in Scotland that it would be a more satisfactory method, now that we have settled the principles on which we are to proceed, that we should set out in simple form the whole code relating to these two separate heads, and my Amendment gives effect to that desire. As regards the women's Parliamentary franchise, my Amendment exactly reproduces, although in words which are self-contained, the proposals which are already in the Bill, and, as regards the local government franchise for men, the opportunity has been taken when I put down this new Amendment more closely to assimilate the local government franchise to men to the existing local government franchise to men as it exists to-day in England. The differences between the Bill as it stands in this matter and the Amendment I propose to move are these: In the first place. the limit of £10 for owners and occupiers is now inserted. In the second place, the necessity for a lodger claim drops out. That is abandoned. In the third place, the area of movement of a voter in the case of successive occupation is slightly extended under the Amendment I am now moving; and, in the last place, the provision of paragraph (2) in the proviso of Clause 3 of the Bill, which applies to England, is not applied to Scotland. That is the proviso which deals with a voter with whom we are not so familiar on the opposite side of the Border as on this side of the Border, and it has been unnecessary to apply that particular proviso to Scotland. So that the House will see from what I have said the Amendment is really of a drafting character, and I suggest to the House that it is a considerable improvement, so far as form goes, upon the Bill as it stands. That being so, I would ask the House to accept the Amendment I now move.1796
§ Question: "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3, a, i.) of the proposed Amendment, to leave out the word "ten" ["yearly value of not less than ten pounds"], and to insert instead thereof the word "five."
This is the first of a series of Amendments I have on the Paper. The object I really have in view is much the same as that of my hon. Friend the Member for West Fifeshire (Mr. Adamson), namely, to reduce the lodger's qualification from £10 to £5, but I myself would prefer the Amendment that he is proposing to move to sweep away the valuation qualification altogether. It seems to me that the effect would be to sweep away or reduce the amount of that qualification in respect of lodgers and you still leave it comparatively high.
I quite recognise the important step which my right hon. Friend has taken in sweeping away the need for a claim and that £10 is the same limit as under the existing law, but as my right hon. Friend knows there are very many constituencies in which by an arrangement between the parties and a general understanding the £10 has, in fact, been treated as a very elastic limit. I know cases in which £7 10s. is taken for practical purposes as the limit, and that is general in many parts of Scotland. When the decision of this matter passes into the hands of the official who, under the new circumstances will have to deal with it, the practical effect will be to put on a higher qualification than existed before. I do not suppose that I am at liberty now to go into the question of lodgers, because my Amendment does not refer to lodgers, and I have no wish to anticipate the Amendment of the hon. Member for West Fife. I move this Amendment with a view to asking the Secretary for Scotland whether he can see his way to reducing the existing limit of £10 to £5, or, better still, to sweep it away altogether. In either event I would 1797 then propose to reduce the amount as regards the owner of lands and heritages and the occupier of lands and heritages from £10 to £5 to fit in with the other.
§ Mr, MUNRO
The Amendment which my hon. and learned Friend proposes is to abolish the qualification for non-occupying owners. The promise I gave in Committee was that I would endeavour in my Amendment to preserve the local government franchise in Scotland substantially as it is to-day. I think, after consideration, the House will agree that my Amendment fulfils that promise; but now, after having given that promise, I am being pressed to alter the present local government franchise by reducing the qualification from £10 to £5, and I observe that by another Amendment on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Fife (Mr. Adamson) he desires to abolish this qualification altogether. Some people might say that it illustrates the danger of giving such an undertaking as I gave. At any rate, I gave the undertaking, and I have implemented it. I am bound to say, after the fullest consideration, that I feel myself disabled from going any further. I am retaining the local government system substantially as it is to-day, and in the circumstances in which I find myself I feel precluded from altering it either by diminishing the qualification from £10 to £5 or from £5 to nothing at all. I would remind my hon. and learned Friend that the present position of the local government franchise in Scotland is logical. The qualification in the burghs is £10 and in the counties £5. That rests upon the very simple principle that rents are higher in the burghs than they are in the counties. Accordingly, under the existing system, you have uniformity. If I accepted the Amendment, that uniformity would disappear. My hon. and learned Friend would be the last person who would desire that result to be brought about. However that may be, I regret, for the reasons that I have given, that I am unable to accept the Amendment, and I accordingly ask the House not to accept it.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. ADAMSON
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3. ii.) of the proposed Amendment, to leave out the words, 1798of the yearly value of not less than £10: Where such lands and heritages are in the joint occupation as tenants of two or more persons and the aggregate yearly value of the lands and heritages is not less than the amount produced by multiplying £10 by the number of the joint occupiers each of the joint occupiers shall be treated as occupying lands and heritages of the yearly value of not less than £10.The object of the Amendment is exactly the same as that of my hon. Friend (Mr. D. White). I want the occupier or tenant of lands and heritages to be on the same footing as lodgers, and I have another Amendment down on the Paper relating to the lodger voter. I was very sorry to hear my right hon. Friend expressing himself as he did with regard to my hon. and learned Friend's Amendment. I would remind him of the sympathetic spirit that has been displayed by his colleagues, who have on several occasions said that this is not a disfranchising but an enfranchising Bill.
§ Mr. ADAMSON
That is the object I have in view in moving this Amendment. I take the statement of the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues as meaning that it should be made easier for a person to have the vote than it is under the existing law,, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give serious attention to the Amendment, which provides for putting the tenant or occupier on the same footing as I desire to put the lodger voter.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I am sure my hon. Friend will not be surprised, after what I have said to my hon. Friend opposite (Mr. D. White) if I say to him regretfully, that I cannot accept his Amendment. He has said, quite truly, that this is an enfranchising Bill. So it is. Were it not that I have put down the Amendments I have on the Paper, there is a large number of voters in Scotland, who at present enjoy the right to the franchise who would have lost that right. I have preserved their right, in accordance with the promise I have given. Now that I have given that promise and implemented it I have been pressed from both sides to go a great deal further than I undertook to go. For the reasons I have already stated, I feel quite unable to accede to the request now made. 1799 The hon. Member (Mr. Adamson) has down Amendments with regard to the occupier and the lodger, but has left the owner to look after himself. My hon. Friend opposite (Mr D .White) is a little more consistent in the matter, but to all these appeals I am afraid that, for the reasons stated, I must turn a deaf ear.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. ADAMSON
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3, a, iv.) of the proposed Amendment, to leave out the words "of the yearly value, if let unfurnished, of not less than £10;
Where lodgings are in the joint occupation of not more than two persons and the aggregate yearly value as aforesaid of the lodgings is not less than £20, each of the joint lodgers shall be treated as occupying lodgings of the yearly value of not less than £10."
This Amendment has for its object the putting of the lodger vote in all parts of Scotland on an equal footing. The Amendment of the Secretary for Scotland no doubt provides for the present position so far as the lodger vote in Scotland concerned, being continued. It will, however, as he is well aware, also continue the great difference in the arrangements made regarding lodger votes in one district as compared with another. For instance, I know one large industrial county where the qualification for the lodger vote is on a purely accommodation basis, that is to say, if it can be proved that a lodger has the entire use of a room he is put on the roll as a lodger voter, while in another case the qualification is £5 in the country district and £8 in the town. Very largely the arrangement that prevails under present conditions is an arrangement made by the party agents. As a general rule, if the party agents come to an agreement as to the basis upon which the vote shall be granted, the presiding officer offers no objection to the arrangement. This is a very unsatisfactory condition of affairs. Now that we are dealing with this matter we ought to have the lodger voter placed on a better footing. I do not suppose that if the Secretary for Scotland were to give effect to my Amendment it would make a very serious addition to the number of lodger voters in Scotland. There would not be a very large increase if my Amendment were accepted, 1800 and now that the married women have been placed upon the register it is an additional reason for giving it serious consideration. It would also be a means of considerably reducing the cost of making up the register. The right hon. Gentleman has had representations made to him for one register for Parliamentary and local government elections. The Amendment would bring us nearer to that idea. The saving of the cost is a very important consideration for those representing Scotland. I hope my right hon. Friend will see his way in the interests of fair play as between one district and another, in the interests of reducing cost, in the interest of removing many difficulties and much dissatisfaction that has arisen regarding this matter, to accept the Amendment.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Wednesday.