§ This Act shall apply to Ireland subject to the following modifications:
§ (1) References to the Lord Chancellor shall be construed as references to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
§ The Lord Chancellor of Ireland shall not sit as a member of the Court of Appeal on the hearing of appeals from the County Court under this Act.
§ In any county in which the jurisdiction of the County Court is exercised for the time being by two or more County Court judges, the appeals from the registration officer shall be dealt with by such one of those judges or his assistant judge as may be directed by the Lord Chancellor, or shall be distributed amongst those judges and their assistant judges according as may be so directed.
§ For the purposes of this Act, County Court rules, Orders, and scales of fees, costs, and charges may be made under Sections 79, 83, and 84 of the County Officers and Courts (Ireland) Act, 1877; but the provisions of those Sections as to the concurrence of, or certification by, County Court judges or the Recorder shall not apply:
§ (2) The reference to the Local Government Board in relation to the approval of a deputy for the execution of any of the powers and duties of a registration officer shall be construed as a reference to the Lord Lieutenant, and other references to that board shall be construed as references to the Local Government Board for Ireland:2089
§ (3) The clerk of the Crown and peace for an administrative county shall be the registration officer for any registration area which is coterminous with, or the whole or greater part of which is contained in, the administrative county, and the council of that county shall be the council by which the expenses properly incurred by the registration officer in the performance of his duties in relation to registration are to be paid subject in cases where the registration area is not coterminous with or wholly contained in the administrative county to such contribution by the council of any other administrative county as the Local Government Board for Ireland may direct: Provided that the expenses to be paid by a council shall not include any charges for trouble, care, and attention, in the performance of duties which are performed by the registration officer in person:
§ All such expenses shall be paid in the case of the council of a county borough, out of the rate or fund out of which the general expenses of the council are paid, or out of any other rate or fund which the Local Government Board may on the application of the council approve, and in the case of a council of any other administrative county out of the poor rate as a county at large charge, except in cases to which Section twelve of the Parliamentary Registration (Ireland) Act, 1885, applies, and shall be regulated in accordance with a scale fixed by the Local Government Board:
§ (4) For the purposes of appeals from the registration officer, and also for the purpose of the revision of jurors' lists, the powers and jurisdiction of the county Court shall, unless arid until the Lord Lieutenant otherwise direct, be exercised, as respects the Parliamentary borough of Dublin, by the persons who are at the time of the passing of this Act Dublin revising barristers, and as respects the Parliamentary county of Dublin by the person who is at the time of the passing of this Act revising barrister for that county; but while those powers are so exercised, the provisions of this Act as to County Courts shall apply to them as they apply to County Courts:2090
§ (5) The expenses of any printing required in connection with registration shall be treated as part of the expenses of the registration officer under this Act, notwithstanding that the printing is arranged for by the county council under Section ninety-six of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898:
§ (6) The expression "administrative county" includes a county borough:
§ (7) Notwithstanding the limit imposed in Sub-section (2) of Section twenty-seven of the County Officers and Courts (Ireland) Act, 1877, the salaries of clerks of the Crown and peace may be increased by orders made under that Sub-section to such extent as appears to the Lord Lieutenant and Council, with the concurrence of the Treasury, to be proper, having regard to the additional duties imposed on those officers by this Act:
§ (8) Part IV. of this Act, and the provisions with respect to an urban district which is coterminous with, or wholly contained in, a registration area, or with respect to the persons who are to be returning officers, or with respect to the discharge of returning officers' duties by an acting returning officer, shall not apply:
§ (9) Section nine, providing for the preparation of two registers each year, shall not apply and only one register shall be prepared each year. The qualifying period shall end on the thirty-first day of August, and the register shall come into force on the first day of January and shall remain in force until the thirty-first day of December.
§ Mr. M. HEALY
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the words "orders, and scales of fees, costs, and charges."
I shall be glad if the Chief Secretary will tell me what are the fees referred to in this Clause. This Clause provides that for the purposes of this Act a scale of fees and charges may be made under the County Courts Act. That is an enactment we are accustomed to when we are dealing with ordinary legislation relating to the usual kind of matters that come before Courts of law. At the present time there is no Court fee chargeable under any circumstances in Revision 2091 Courts. Whether the matter relates to something in the Court itself to the issue of a subpœna or to an appeal by case stated there is no Court fee charged or incurred. The same so far as I am aware is the law in England, and in the English part of this Bill there is not a suggestion that the law is going to be changed and that in England there is to be any Court fee charged in relation to any transaction in the Revision Courts. The English Clause 12 provides that, "An appeal shall lie to the County Court . . . . and rules of Court shall be made for the purpose of determining the procedure on any such appeals, and for applying and adapting thereto any enactments relating to County Courts and the procedure therein." There is no suggestion there that Court fees are to be charged. It is quite proper that Court fees should be charged in the course of ordinary litigation. Some people are strongly against all classes of Court fees, and think that they are a hindrance and obstruction to those who are seeking justice. Whether it is right or wrong to charge Court fees when A. brings an ordinary action against B., there is nothing whatever to be said for charging them in this matter of revision where no private interests are involved and where all the parties are simply endeavouring to the best of their ability to secure that there shall be a proper voters' list and where they are all engaged in a kind of public work. I gather that this is action taken by some eager official in the Government. This is not the first time that the gentleman who looks after these matters has sought to attack us in the matter of County Court fees. I have always been sharply on the watch in this connection. The fees are quite sufficient at present. We have never made any objection to them, though, if I had the drawing of them, I would make them somewhat less. There is nothing to be said in favour of introducing any question of Court fees where the right to vote is concerned. I am at a loss to conceive how it ever entered into the mind of any rational human being to attempt to do so. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accept my Amendment and will place Ireland in this matter in the same position as England. The English part of the Act makes provision that there shall be County Court rules regulating procedure. I have no objection to similar rules in Ireland. As it has never occurred to the English 2092 draftsman to suggest that in revision matters it was proper to charge County Court fees in England, I hope that nothing of the kind will be applied to Ireland.
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Duke)
My hon. Friend is mistaken in supposing the terms of the Bill as it stands introduce any new principle or any exception unfavourable to the case of Ireland. On the question of principle, whenever appeals are taken in matters of registration somebody has to pay the fees, and our system here in England is that the litigants should pay.
§ Mr. DUKE
There is a fee when you go to a judicial tribunal. What is done by this Bill is to substitute the registration officer for the old Revision Court and to substitute the County Court judge for the judicial tribunal which formerly dealt with cases stated by the Revision Court. The principle which has been observed in the past has been that the litigant before the judicial tribunal should incur the fees, and should also pay the costs unless he finds people willing to act for nothing. I do not imagine that advocates in Ireland carry on the business of litigants before the County Court without being paid for it. It is difficult to see why it should be compulsory on the part of the State to provide the machinery without fees.
§ Mr. CLANCY
Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that a fee is now payable by the person who appeals to the Court of Appeal?
§ Mr. DUKE
It is in this country. I am speaking of the hearing of appeals in Ireland before the proper tribunal, whether it be the King's Bench Division or the Court of Appeal which hears the cases stated by revising barristers. We cannot set down one of those cases in this country without paying a fee. I cannot conceive that it is different in Ireland, and I will assume it is so until I am satisfied to the contrary.
§ Mr. HEALY
So far as I know, and I have had quite a number of these cases, there is no fee chargeable in the Court of Appeal. In an ordinary appeal there is a 2093 fee of 10s. on setting down the appeal; but this is not an appeal, but a case stated by the revising barrister, and so far as I know there is no fee chargeable on the setting down of the case stated.
§ Mr. DUKE
I read the Clause, and I inquired, and I am told that the English County Court Acts provide sufficiently for the enactment and collection of the necessary fees. But it happens that the Irish County Court Acts do not. This proposal is intended to bring Ireland to the same high level that we have already reached in these matters. There is no new principle or unfavourable differentiation, and I cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. BRADY
I am very reluctant to advance my opinion against the legal opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, but my experience is precisely similar to that of the hon. and learned Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) and the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. M. Healy), whom everybody recognises as a leading authority on registration in Ireland. My personal experience is that Court fees are not chargeable on registration appeals. On that point I confidently appeal to the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General for Ireland. I am absolutely clear on the fact that Court fees are not chargeable in matters of this kind. What are chargeable are fees which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would be the last to eliminate, namely, the fees payable to the counsel and solicitors who argue these cases. That is a very different thing from Court fees with which the Amendment deals.
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will explain tnat it is not the intention of this Bill to impose any charges or any fees which have not existed in the past, and that I think would satisfy lion. Members who have raised the point. Personally I am not sufficiently acquainted with the law to express an opinion.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. HEALY
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to insert the words "Provided that no Court fee shall be charged in respect of any appeal under this Act."
This Amendment raises the same question as before in another form. I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman, if we can satisfy him that no Court fee has been hitherto payable in these cases, that he will give us an undertaking to set right this matter in another place, and leave us in the position in which we have hitherto been. The case is not at all as it has been in the past. What we are now dealing with is an appeal, created for the first time, from the registration officer to the County Court.
§ Mr. HEALY
That is not the assurance for which I asked. I do not know what the County Courts do in this matter in England. The right hon. and learned Gentleman may be right in saying that there is no reference in the English Clause to Court fees. The English County Courts may, by other legislation, have power to charge fees. The assurance for which I ask is that, seeing it has not been the law in Ireland in the past that Court fees are payable, that we should still have the benefit of Irish law, no matter what the English law may be. That is somewhat different, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to answer that point. If in Ireland we have hitherto had the advantage that there have been no Court fees, I claim with the utmost urgency that we 2095 should have the same privilege. In order to obtain that assurance from the right hon. Gentleman, I beg to move.
§ Mr. CLANCY
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has given an assurance that Ireland shall not be differentiated against; would he consider that Ireland was being differentiated against if fees are now made payable which have never been payable in the past?
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
I think we ought to accept the assurance of the right hon. and learned Gentleman that he will give the matter reconsideration if he finds that there is anything unreasonable and unjust to Ireland.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. CLANCY
I beg to move, in Subsection (3), after the word "county" [" for the administrative county "], to insert the words "or the town clerk of a county borough as the case may be."
This is the first of a series of Amendments directed to the same point. The question with which these Amendments deal was raised in Committee, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman will recollect, and some concession was obtained on that occasion. Various hon. Members and myself were in favour of the local officers in Ireland—that is to say, clerks of the county councils and town clerks of boroughs—being made the registration officers, instead of the work being put into the hands, for the first time, of the clerks of the Crown and peace. Since then the question has been considered afresh by those interested. The result is that I do not now move to amend the Bill so far as the county secretaries are concerned, although when we come to the Schedule there are one or two small changes which I will ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to accept. If the first Amendment is not accepted, all the others go with 2096 it. These Amendments deal with the town clerks of six county boroughs. I do not really think it is necessary for me to go into a full statement of the case again; it was gone into at considerable length in the former Debate to which I have alluded. The case of the town clerks, they say, is in the first place—and I think what they say is perfectly true—somewhat different to that of the county secretaries. In the case of the county secretaries the clerks of the Crown and peace have very much more to do. I think I am right in saying that practically the only thing the clerks of the Crown and peace have hitherto had to do with registration where town clerks exist was to print from an Act of Parliament a document which was called a precept and send it by post, or by hand, and I suppose one copy would be quite enough. The rest of the business, so far as I can make out, and I have made some study of the subject, and I had some personal experience a good many years ago in connection with this matter of registration, so far as the clerk of the Crown and peace was concerned ended there. The lists were completed and handed back to the clerk of the Crown and peace by the clerk of the borough. All the intermediate work was done by the town clerk and his assistants, who were under his direction and control.
I believe I am stating what is absolutely true when I say that there has been no objection taken to them, or to the way in which the work has been discharged in any of the boroughs, or in any of the six boroughs of which these town clerks have carried out this work of registration. The lists were handed back to the clerk of the peace and he had to get them printed. That is part of his ordinary duty. He has to stock the registers completed and printed, to keep them in his office, and to sell them to the public. He is a whole-time officer of the Government. The work costs the ratepayers nothing. The remuneration he receives was paid him in his salary. All the rest of the work was done by the town clerks and assistants, as I have already said. They issued directions to the clerk of the unions and the rating committees. They were superiors to these other officers, who got permission, and utilised it, and so looked after the work. There is no particular difference between their case and the case of the county secretaries, which I have no doubt has been made familiar by this time to the Chief Secretary. Perhaps, however, 2097 he will excuse me mentioning it in a sentence. In the counties where the county secretaries operate they have the existing register before them on which to begin their work. The town clerk of a borough has no list of that kind before him. He has to make the list out from the commencement, and he has to certify it from the return made to him by the officers acting under him. Things are to some extent different in the counties, and in consequence of this difference, and of others—perhaps some of them sentimental reasons—the town clerks of the boroughs think that their status ought to be the same as hitherto, that their duties ought to be the same, and that they ought to have the same authority over the officers acting under them as they have at this moment. Really, I cannot understand why, in their case at least, the Chief Secretary hesitates to makes this concession. I do not know what he is going to do on the present occasion, but it seems to me that it will be necessary for him to give some explanation as to why he refuses to do what he is asked, supposing he is going to take that course. I know of no reason for refusal, and I cannot imagine any. Moreover, I believe there is absolutely unanimity on this subject, with the exception, I admit, of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. M. Healy). The Unionists from the North of Ireland on the last occasion were unanimous in support of the proposal.
§ Mr. CLANCY
The hon. Baronet, at all events, was silent, though I am sorry to infer from what he has just said that he is against the proposal. I hope he is the only one, and certainly from the action of the Unionist Members from Ulster on the former occasion I must assume they are with us on this matter. One or two spoke in favour. I appeal to the Chief Secretary to make this concession, and I certainly do not know why he should persist in a proposal to degrade these officers.
§ Mr. FIELD
I beg to second the Amendment.
I would like to remind the hon. Member that the Town Clerk of Londonderry was on the deputation, and he was exceedingly strong in the position he took up. There is only one further argument. The town clerks of these different cities are in a better position to carry out the 2098 registration business than would be the clerks of the peace, and for this reason: They have a knowledge not alone of the, localities, but of the persons. Surely the Town Clerks of Dublin, Belfast and Londonderry know more about the business to which they have been accustomed than the clerks of the peace. I know something about this, and I know that what my hon. Friend has said is absolutely true, that the clerks of the peace have practically nothing whatever to do with this matter.
§ Mr. M. HEALY
As the hon. and learned Member who moved this Amendment has referred to me, perhaps I may say a word in justification of the position I take up. All my personal predilections are in favour of the Amendment. The hon. and learned Member for North Dublin has suggested that it was possible a statement might be made that these officers were not competent to discharge the duties of registration officers. Certainly that is the last suggestion I would dream of making. I know several of them. I know the very competent Town Clerk of Dublin, formerly a very respected Member of this House, and my friend the Town Clerk of Cork, and I have done business with the Town Clerks of Belfast and Derry, and found them all first-class officials. There is not one of these persons who is not perfectly competent to do the work of registration officer, and if you were for the first time setting up registration machinery, I think I would probably take the view of the hon. and learned Member. But we are not doing this for the first time. We are dealing with vested interests. This process of the registration of voters has been in existence for several generations, and all that time the work has been discharged, not by the town clerk, but by the clerk of the peace. Accordingly, when, as a member of the Speaker's Conference having some knowledge of this matter, I was appealed to to say what should be done in this matter in Ireland, I urged on that Conference that the proper line to be taken was that every official should be left, as far as possible, in the position in which he was placed under the existing law. Having taken that position at the Speaker's Conference having accepted my suggestion and recommended it, I cannot, of course, 2099 stultify myself in this House by taking a different line and supporting this Amendment.
I was really surprised to hear the hon. and learned Member say that there was anything in this which degraded the town clerks. I was also astonished at his statement that this would make some change in their position. Surely, when we discussed this matter in Committee we inserted an Amendment in the Bill stating as plainly as the English language can state anything that the position of such officials is safeguarded. This leaves them as they are, and instead of injuring them in any way it largely increases their emoluments. It is beyond any doubt that this Bill will more than double their work. I should say it will probably increase their work threefold. One Amendment agreed to last week adding wives to the municipal list alone will enormously increase their work, and pro tanto, most properly, their money. Accordingly, neither from the point of view of dignity, nor from that of their financial position, will this in the least injure or degrade these gentlemen. I rise with regret, but I am bound to do what is fair and just, and what is fair and just in this matter is to take no man's livelihood or emoluments from him Accordingly, with much personal regret, and having, as I say, much sympathy with the officers of whom the hon. and learned Member for Dublin has spoken, I regretfully feel myself unable to support him on this occasion.
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
It occurs to me that the position of the town clerks of the county boroughs is precisely the same as that of the secretaries of the county councils. We discussed the whole question in Committee, and it was decided that the work should be done by the clerk of the peace. Between hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway apparently there is a difference on this question, but, speaking for those I represent, I say at once we are entirely in favour of the position being given to the clerk of the peace, as in the past. As the hon. Member for Cork states, instead of the emoluments of town clerks being diminished, they will be, owing to the increase in the number of voters, considerably enlarged. I do not think, therefore, there are any legitimate 2100 grounds for complaint. Personally, I hope my hon. and learned Friend will not take a vote on this matter.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. DUKE
The hon. Member opposite has appealed to me upon this question. These officials have been in communication with me, and everybody who knows them has the highest respect for them, and they are perfectly competent to discharge the duties of registration officers. Some of them hold conspicuous positions. It is not as if we were starting a new system and had to select for the first time the people best fitted to discharge these duties, for we are dealing with an existing system. I thought we had satisfied hon. Members from all parts of Ireland by inserting a provision which retained to every officer the duties he now discharges, or gave him the right to discharge the analogous duties that arise under the provisions of this Bill. That was of the nature of a compact between Irish Members and His Majesty's Government. If Irish Members say now "We were a little short-sighted in that respect, and although we agreed to deal with the matter in that way we suggest, on the combined representation of the whole of us, that you should now depart from that position," that would have weighed with me.
§ Mr. CLANCY
I cannot allow the right hon. Gentleman to say that I or any of us entered into a compact with the Government to accept as satisfactory the words which he inserted in a subsequent part of this Bill. I deny that emphatically.
§ Mr. DUKE
I certainly was under the impression that we had settled this matter by leaving the duties to be carried out by those who had been accustomed to perform them. Immediately you displace people from duties in which they have an interest you must compensate them, and if you do not reappoint them you cast some reflection upon their past services. The Amendment is one to reserve these duties to those who have discharged them, or where there is new duties we put them into the hands of those who have previously discharged similar duties. It has been argued that in the case of the county boroughs an increased charge would be thrown upon each county, but may I point out that the remuneration of the Clerk of the Crown and Peace would be 2101 paid out of the Exchequer, and the remuneration of the town clerk would have to be provided in a different manner.
§ Mr. CLANCY
Surely the right hon. Gentleman does not mean to say that half the expense incurred by the clerks of the Crown and Peace will fall upon the rates?
§ Mr. CLANCY
I understand that if the Clerk of the Crown and Peace is made registration officer the registration expenses which he would properly have incurred would be paid half by the Treasury and half by the ratepayers, and under these circumstances where is the saving?
§ Mr. DUKE
If the town clerk is made registration officer half of his expenses, half of the personal remuneration which would come to him for discharging the duties of registration officer, would have to be paid out of the funds of the borough. This Bill provides the mode in which this remuneration shall be paid, and on this question I do not depart from the attitude I took up in Committee.
§ Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR
The right hon. Gentleman and those who have taken the same views as he has just expressed, seem to know what is in the minds of the town clerks better than the town clerks themselves. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that many of us accompanied the town clerks of Ireland and other officials affected by the Bill when they waited upon him to put their case before him, and the case they put was entirely different from that which the right hon. Gentleman has just expressed, and by those who supported the same view. On that point I can give further evidence, because before these officials waited upon the right hon. Gentleman they met in Dublin, in the Mansion House, and passed the following resolution:That this meeting of town clerks, secretaries of county councils and urban district councils, being the persons who possess complete information for the framing of the registration lists and who entirely compile these lists—Is that a false statement? It must be, if what the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has stated is correct. The resolution proceeds:and who bring to the Revision Court all the information for the testing and making of an absolutely 2102 correct Parliamentary and municipal record of voters. call upon the Government and the [...]rish Members of Parliament to support such an alteration of the law with respect to the making of these lists as will leave the work in the hands of the popularly elected representatives of the Irish people in like manner to that which is proposed in clause 10 with respect to English officials.That is the opinion of the town clerks themselves. When we come to Clause 10, and the position of officials in England, it indicates the great misfortune of legislating for Ireland in the same measure as legislation is proposed for England. What is the fact with regard to England? It is that the Clerks of the Crown and Peace in England and the town clerk are one and the same person in almost all cases, whereas in Ireland they are quite different people. One is the clerk of a popularly elected body appointed by them, whereas the other is the Clerk of the Crown and Peace appointed by the Government. These men have done this business satisfactorily up to the present. They state that they are the persons who have done the work, and they have done it not only to the satisfaction of their employers but also to the satisfaction of the public. They are daily using the books from which these lists are compiled, namely, the valuation rolls and the rate-book. From these two books the compilation of the lists has to be done, and these books will have to be placed in the hands of men who do not use them.
It has been pointed out that the work done by the clerks of the Crown and peace entitle them to carry out this registration work, but I would like to point out that the work done by them in the past has been merely of a perfunctory character. The real work was done by the other officials. I looked amongst my papers, because I had intended to speak in Committee on this subject, and I came across a statement made by the clerks of the Crown and Peace with regard to their remuneration, and they made a demand and passed a resolution that they shall be put in the same position with regard to remuneration as clerks of the county council and borough councils, and that this expense shall be borne by the rates and paid by the county council. If that be so, we shall be paying the cost of the salaries of gentlemen over whom we have no control. The county councils have now to pay their own servants appointed by themselves, and the effect of this change will be that they will be paying the expenses of officials over whom they have no control. I suggest to the House that this 2103 is a most inequitable proposition. I protest against the change, and I support the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Dublin. I agree that there has been no sound or good reason given for the change, and if it is made it will be against the direct
§ protest of those who represent the people whose servants are about to be disfranchised.
§ Question put, " That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 78; Noes, 335.2105
|Division No. 123.]||AYES.||[6.15 p.m.|
|Adamson, William||Hinds. John||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Hogge, James Myles||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Anderson, W. C.||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Holt, Richard Durning||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Barton, Sir William||John, Edward Thomas||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Runclman, Sir Walter (Hartlepool)|
|Black, Sir Arthur W.||Jewett, Frederick William||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Joyce, Michael||Smallwood, Edward|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Keating, Matthew||Smith, Capt. Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Kenyon, Barnet||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Kiley, James Daniel||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||King, J.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Law, Hugh A. (Danegal, West)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lynch, A. A.||Tillett, B.|
|Crooks, Rt. Hon. William||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Falk. B'ghs)||Tootill, Robert|
|Crumley, Patrick||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Watson, John Bertrand (Stockton)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Molloy, Michael||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Needham, Christopher T.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Field, William||Nolan, Joseph||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Fitzpatrick, John Lalor||O'Grady, James||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Galbralth, Samuel||O'Malley, William||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gilbert, J. D.||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Glanville, Harold James||Parrott, Sir James Edward||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Hackett, John||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)||Boland and Mr. J. O'Connor,|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Allen, .Major W. J.||Cawley, Rt. Hon. Sir F. (Prestwich)||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred|
|Archdale, Lieut. E. M.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Baird, John Lawrence.||Cheyne, Sir W. W.||Greig, Colonel J. W|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Gretton, Colonel John|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Clive, Col. Percy Archer||Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis Jones|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Clyde, James Avon||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Cochrane, Cecil Algernon||Haddock, George Bahr|
|Barnston, Capt. Harry||Collins, Sir W. (Derby)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Frederick (Dulwich)|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs)||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Hombre, Angus Valdemar|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Hanson, Charles Augustin|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Cory, James H. (Cardiff)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cowan, Sir W. H.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Been, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Craig, Colonel James (Down, E.)||Harris, Sir Henry P. (Paddington, S.)|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Craig, Norman (Kent. Thanet)||Harris, Percy A. (Lelcester, S.)|
|Bird, Alfred||Cralk, Sir Henry||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Blair, Reginald||Currie, George W.||Healy, Maurice (Cork)|
|Bliss, Joseph||Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Boles, Lieut,Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Henry, Sir Charles (Shropshire)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir R. T.|
|Bowden, Major G. R. Harland||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hewart, Sir Gordon|
|Boyton, James||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Dixon, C. H.||Hickman, Brig. Gen. Thomas E.|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Brookes, Warwick||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Edln., Midlothian)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Fell, Arthur||Horne, Edgar|
|Burdett. Coutts, W.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Hunter. Major Sir Charles Rodk.|
|Butcher, John George||Fitzroy. Hon. Edward A.||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.|
|Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Fleming, Sir J. (Aberdeen, S.)||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Jackson, Lieut. Col. Hon. F. S. (York)|
|Cater, John||Gardner, Ernest||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)|
|Cautley, H. S.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Nichelson, William G. (Petersfield)||Shaw, Hon. A.|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Nield, Herbert||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Walton)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Norman, Sir Henry||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir J.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Kerry, Lieut.-Col., Earl of||O'Neill, Capt. Hon. H. (Antrim, Mid.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Lamoert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Stanley,Rt.Hon.SirA.H. (Ashton-u-Lyne)|
|Larmon, Sir J.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Staveley-Hill, Lieut.-Col. Henry|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir F.||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Lee, Sir Arthur Hamilton||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pease, Rt.Hon. Herbert Pike(Darlington)||Sykes, Col. Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert i||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Lindsay, William Arthur||Peto, Basil Edward||Thomas, Sir G. (Monmouth, S.)|
|Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Philipps, General Ivor (Southampton)||Tickler, T. G.|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Philipps, Captain Sir Owen (Chester)||Touche, Sir George Alexander|
|Leng, Rt. Hon. Walter||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Pratt, J. W.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest George||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Lowe. Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E)||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Prothero, Rt. Hon. Rowland Edmond||Walton. Sir Joseph|
|MacCaw, William .J. MacGeagh||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wardle, George J.|
|Mackinder, Halford J.||Rawson, Colonel R. H.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Macmaster, Donald||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)||Watson, Hon. W. (Lanark, S.)|
|McMicking, Major Gilbert||Rees. Sir J. D.||Weigall, Lieut.-Col. W. E. G. A.|
|McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham) i||Weston, J. W.|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Whiteley, Herbert J.|
|Maden, Sir John Henry||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wiles, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Maitland, Sir A. D. Steel-||Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Marriott, J. A. R.||Robinson, Sidney||Winfrey. Sir Richard|
|Meux, Adml. Hon. Sir Hedworth||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Mitchell-Thomson, W.||Rothschild, Major Lionel de||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Mend. Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Lancs.,Darwen)||Worthington Evans, Major Sir L.|
|Morison, Hector (Hackney, S.)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Samuels, Arthur W. (Dublin, U.)||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth) .||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Neville, Reginald J. N.||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Newman, Major John R. P.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord|
|Newton, Major Harry Kottingham||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, West)||Edmund Talbot and Captain Guest.|
|Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
Question put, and agreed to
§ Mr. DUKE
I beg to move, in Subsection (3), after the word "the" ["the expenses properly incurred by the registration officer"], to insert the word "registration."
This is one of a series of Amendments dealing with the definition of registration expenses. Clause 13 provides a general method for regulating registration expenses, and this and the series of Amendments which follow are mere drafting Amendments intended to take advantage of the definition which is found in that Clause.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: Leave out the words "properly incurred by the registration officer in the performance of his duties in relation to registration," and insert instead the words "of that registratien officer."—[Mr. Duke.]
§ Mr. HEALY
I beg to move to leave out the words "Provided that the expenses to be paid by a council shall not include any charges for trouble, care, and attention, in the performance of duties which are performed by the registration officer in person:"
I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the words which I propose to leave 2106 out are inconsistent with his own Sub-section. The registration officer now will not only have larger duties, but also different duties to perform, because he will be discharging largely functions which hitherto have been discharged by the County Court judge. It will now be the duty of the registration officer to hear claims and objections and to decide them. He never discharged that duty before. It is really a duty of a judicial character, as distinct from an administrative character, and it is now cast upon him for the first time. I observe that in the case of England great pains are taken to see that he is properly remunerated for his work. It is stated that he is to be paid all proper and reasonable charges for trouble, care, and attention in the performance of the duty imposed upon him. When you come to the case of Ireland, it is provided that the expenses shall not include any charges for trouble, care, and attention. As this seems quite inconsistent with the right hon. Gentleman's Sub-section, I beg to move that it be omitted.
§ Amendment not seconded.
§ Amendments made: After the word the" ["Provided that the expenses"] insert the word "registration."2107
§ Leave out the words "all such," and inserts instead thereof the words "The registration."
§ Leave out the words "and shall be regulated in accordance with a scale fixed by the Local Government Board"— [Mr. Duke]
§ Mr. DUKE
I beg to move, after Subsection (3), to insert,
"(4) Where an administrative county is divided into ridings the Lord Lieutenant may, by order, divide the Parliamentary county into a corresponding number of registration areas and make any adaptations of this Act which may be necessary in consequence of the division, and the clerk of the Crown and peace for any riding shall be registration officer for such of those areas as may he directed by the Lord Lieutenant."
These words create a power in counties or in a county where there is more than one clerk of the Crown and peace to allot a district for registration purposes to each clerk of the Crown and peace. The The case which I have in mind in making this proposal is that of county Cork, which is divided into two ridings. The case cannot be dealt with simply by introducing words into the Bill which allot to each clerk of the Crown and peace one of the ridings, because it happens that the boundaries of the ridings cut across the boundaries of the constituencies. Some arrangement will be necessary, and care will have to be exercised in order to see that the duties of the registration officers for the various constituencies in county Cork are properly apportioned between the two clerks of the Crown and peace. We propose that it should be done by a reasonable arrangement, and the Amendment is moved with that object.
§ Mr. HEALY
No doubt something of this kind is necessary, but I doubt if the right hon. Gentleman has considered the aptness of the words employed. That appears to be open to dispute. It is undoubtedly a fact that in county Cork the riding does not correspond with any electoral area. No doubt it will be necessary that the clerk of the Crown and peace of the West Riding shall be the registration officer for a small bit of the East Riding, and that the clerk of the Crown and peace of the East Riding shall be the registration officer for a small bit of the West .Riding. I cannot, however, see why such powers are required for the Lord Lieu- 2108 tenant. I do not suppose that the Subsection will be acted upon. The rational course would be to provide that the clerk of the Crown and peace who is clerk of the Crown and peace for the greater part of the area shall be the registration officer for that area. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell us why this precise form of words has been adopted.
§ Mr. DUKE
The form of words adopted here is adopted for the purpose of giving the largest possible power to do what common sense dictates. I cannot conceive that any officer entrusted with the power of government in Ireland would do anything but that which he thought met the best necessities of the voters in those two. ridings. It is a somewhat complex problem with which to deal, but I can assure my hon. Friend that it will be dealt with in entire good faith and with a desire to meet the necessities of the case. If he or any Member representing county Cork will come to me at the time when an Order is proposed for the purpose of carrying out the objects I have explained to the House, I will do my best either to justify the Order which is proposed to be made or make such amendments as common sense may dictate.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. HEALY
I beg to move to leave out Sub-section (4).
The matter is somewhat technical, but I will endeavour to explain to the right hon. Gentleman as briefly as I can why I make this proposal. The Sub-section deals with the county and city of Dublin, and it deals with the voters' lists and the jurors' lists. I am in doubt whether that portion of the Sub-section dealing with the jurors' lists is in order. The title of the Bill is
"A Bill to amend the Law with respect to Parliamentary and Local Government Franchises and the Registration of Parliamentary and Local Government Electors, and the conduct of elections and to provide for the Redistribution of Seats at Parliamentary Elections, and for other purposes connected therewith."
The revision of the jurors' lists has not the smallest connection with anything covered by the Title of the Bill. If that objection had been taken at the proper time, I should have claimed that that part of the Sub-section is out of order. I would submit to the right hon. Gentleman that the proposal made in the Bill with regard to jurors' lists is ill-considered. It assumes 2109 that the present authority for dealing with the jurors' lists is the County Court. That is not so—that is to say, it is not the County Court qua County Court that deals with them. If the right hon. Gentleman will refer to the Juries Act he will find that there is no jurisdiction conferred on the County Court qua County Court in the matter of the revisions of the voters' lists. The matter is dealt with in the Juries Act, 1870, which provides that the revising authority shall not be the County Court, but the authority which revises the voters' lists. It happens that the main authority which revises the voters' lists is the County Court, but it does not revise the jurors' lists qua County Court; it revises them as being the authority which revises the voters' lists. The relevance of that distinction to the present Sub-section is that in the County of Dublin the County Court has nothing whatever to do with the revision of the jurors' lists. In the county of Dublin there is a special tribunal. It is set up by a particular Act which vests, in a special Court appointed for the purpose, the function of revising the voters' lists. It is that Court, and not the County Court, which revises the jurors' lists in the city of Dublin. Accordingly, it appears to me that, in point of form, so much of this Sub-section as refers to the revision of the jurors' lists is ill-considered, and will not have the operation it is intended to have, for it provides that for the purpose of the revision of the jurors' lists the powers and jurisdiction of the County Court shall, as regards the Parliamentary borough of Dublin, be exercised by the County Court. I do not know whether the Sub-section has been considered from that aspect. The first point I make is that technically it is inapplicable, and has not the operation it is intended to have.
On the merits of the Sub-section, let me point out to the right hon. Gentleman that. for the first time, this Sub-section casts on the Recorder of Dublin the duty of revising the voters' lists. Of course, it does not cast it upon him immediately, but undoubtedly it provides that that function shall be cast ultimately upon him. It is a function he has never hitherto discharged It was never cast upon him by Statute before. It seems somewhat extraordinary that the right hon. Gentleman should propose to cast upon any judicial officer new duties of a wholly novel kind without making some provision that he shall, at 2110 any rate, get some remuneration for the duties he discharges. That is not, however, the particular aspect of the matter in which I am interested. My view is that the Recorder of Dublin has business enough to do. He is the hardest worked official in Ireland. The County Court jurisdictions of Dublin and of Belfast are quite sufficient to occupy the whole time of any judge. Whoever drafted this Bill did a thing which was ill-considered in taking power to cast these duties on an official who already has sufficient work to do. So much for the jurors' lists. In addition to the juror's lists, the right hon. Gentleman casts upon the Recorder of Dublin, for the first time, the function of a Court of Appeal in the matter of the voters' lists. It is a curious fact that that is a function which never from the beginning of time was vested in the Recorder of Dublin. Ever since there have been Courts of Revision the duty of revising the voters' lists has been wholly foreign to the functions discharged by the Recorder of Dublin. Whatever the reason for it was, under the Reform Act, when a Court of Revision was first set up, it was provided that the jurisdiction of revising the voters' lists in Dublin should be discharged not by the Recorder of Dublin, but by the chairman of the Quarter Sessions for the county.
Never since there have been Revision Courts has any work connected with the revision of voters in the county of Dublin been discharged by the Recorder of Dublin. In the beginning it was discharged first by the chairman of Quarter Sessions and afterwards by a deputy appointed by him, and at present it is discharged by two barristers who are appointed under an Act specially gassed for that purpose. Not only did it cast upon them the duty of revising the lists for the city of Dublin, but also the lists for the county of Dublin, and it makes a curious distinction in the two cases. I do not know why it is that the Bill proposes to repeal the two Statutes which deal with the special jurisdiction of the revising barristers for the city of Dublin but does not propose to repeal the Statute which appoints a revising barrister for the county of Dublin. This Sub-section proposes ultimately to cast both jurisdictions on the Recorder, but in the one case the special Statutes under which the city of Dublin's revising barristers are appointed are repealed, and the special Section by which the revising county barrister is appointed is not repealed. If there is any reason. 2111 for that distinction, I, shall be glad to know what it is. I suspect there is probably a financial reason. At any rate, the distinction is made in the Statute, and when the proper time comes I shall be glad to hear what it is. However, my present object is to submit to the right hon. Gentleman that he is proposing by this Sub-section to cast upon the Recorder of Dublin an additional burden in the shape of work which it is quite impossible that he can perform. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman will be able to assure me that he considers that the power contained in the English Section which vests in the Lord Chancellor the power, if he thinks fit, to appoint an additional judge to do the work sufficiently meets the case. If that is the right hon. Gentleman's explanation there is some substance in it, but I move the Amendment in order to obtain from him a full statement on the somewhat difficult matter which is involved in this Clause. When we were dealing with it in Committee he gave an assurance, with reference to the abolition of the office of the two gentlemen who held the position of revising barristers, which I thought would have been dealt with by an Amendment on Report. I do not see any Amendment down on the subject, but I suppose some Amendment is necessary in order to carry out the pledge.
§ Mr. CLANCY
I beg to second the Amendment.
I wish to draw attention to the case of the Recorder of Dublin. So far as I recollect the facts are these: In 1884 a special revising barrister was appointed, by an Act of Parliament specially passed for the purpose, to revise the lists for the county of Dublin, and on that occasion, in consequence of the removal of registration work from the Recorder, his salary was cut down by £100 a year. I really think it would be a breach of faith now to increase his work without giving him back at least that £100 a year.
§ Mr. CLANCY
The right hon. Gentleman is so well-intentioned that I might be inclined to accept his assurance except that, unfortunately, all members of the Government are not equally to be trusted. I would rather have the guarantee of an Act of Parliament than any assurance 2112s such as the right hon, Gentleman has given. I would suggest that some such words as these might be inserted at the end of the Sub-section, "Provided that no such direction shall be given during the term of office of the present Recorder of Dublin." That would preserve the right of the Government, after the present occupant ceases to hold office, to add to his duties without additional remuneration.
§ Mr. DUKE
This Sub-section deals with a somewhat difficult situation. The case of the city and county of Dublin is somewhat anomalous regarding registration. The revising barristers hold office under Statute and perform their duties in a different way from that in which they are performed by any other revising barrister. They have discharged their duties to everyone's satisfaction as far as I am aware. If they were dismissed and compensated, you would have had to provide two compensations. You would have had to pay a deputy-judge or recorder for doing the work and to pay other members of the Board for not doing the work. In that view of the case the Clause provides that those who are efficiently doing their work shall continue to do it, and so shall not be so entitled to compensation, and that the judges of the County Court shall not be required to do the work, and so shall not be compelled to make a claim for increase of salary. That is the object of the proposal in the Sub-section, and the question is whether it does any injustice to anyone. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Healy) began his criticism of the Sub-section by saying it was inapt from the technical point of view, because the Recorder, as such, has nothing to do with the revision of the jurors' lists.
§ Mr. DUKE
My hon. and learned Friend was quite right as to the manner in which these duties are distributed, but the words are perfectly apt, because the functions which are dealt with here are the powers and jurisdiction of the County Court for the purpose of registration appeals. and for the purpose of the revision of the jurors' lists.
§ Mr. DUKE
The Clause is not dealing with the particular circumstances of 2113 Dublin. The powers and jurisdiction to which it refers are not the powers and jurisdiction which happen to be exercised under anomalous conditions in Dublin, but the powers and jurisdiction provided in the Bill itself for County Courts generally.
§ Mr. DUKE
That does not appear to me to be at all material. That is the foundation of the hon. and learned Gentleman's charge of inaptitude against the draftsman, and I think he is wrong. As to the other matters, first of all it is desired to protect the Recorder of Dublin from having to discharge these duties without remuneration. In Clause 12 there is a provision which empowers the Lord Chancellor to furnish the services of an assistant judge for the discharge of these duties if necessary. Why should it be supposed that this power will not be exercised at the time when the necessity to exercise it arises? If one of the revising barristers dies, or if two die, or if the three die, the occasion would arise for furnishing help to discharge these duties. At any rate, the position of the Recorder will not be interfered with in any way without some change in his remuneration, and he will not be asked to perform these duties without his consent. I do not think the Recorder ought to be called upon, and I am sure he would not undertake to perform duties unless he were able to do so. I regard that contingency as out of the case. I do not think it will ever materialise. The other question is with regard to revising barristers. It was suggested by the hon. Member (Mr. Clancy) that a proviso should be added that no direction shall be given by the Lord-Lieutenant during the term of office of the present Recorder. Let me put a case. Assume that one of the revising barristers died. There would be duties to be discharged, and someone would have to discharge them. The result of the suggested proviso would be to disable the Government from providing, in the time of the present Recorder, for the discharge of those duties. That obviously is a thing we could not contemplate. The revising barristers are protected. The Clause was modelled with a view to protecting them in their positions. So far as the Recorder is concerned there will be no interference 2114 with his office and no attempts to put additional duties upon him without his consent.
§ Amendment negatived
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. DUKE
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (6), to insert the words:"and the expression 'overseer' means a town clerk, secretary of a county council, clerk of an urban district council, an existing clerk of the union, within the meaning of The Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, and a collector of poor rate."
§ Mr. HUGH LAW
I beg to move, as an. Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the words "an existing" and to insert instead thereof the word "a."
The purpose of this Amendment is to make it possible for the clerks of unions to be employed. This point was raised in the Committee stage, and the Government found itself unable to accept it. I did not press it then, but further consideration has made me feel that the matter is of real and substantial importance. Therefore, I venture to trouble the House once more with it. I do not know whether the House will know, but the Chief Secretary is well aware of the point at issue. Clerks of unions appointed before 1898 are the existing clerks which are mentioned in the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment. Certain changes were made by the Local Government Act of that year, and the rights of existing clerks were safeguarded. Now the question arises whether clerks. appointed since that time ought to be able to be employed in the same manner as those appointed before 1898. I know quite well what objection will be raised to my Amendment. It is that in order to carry out my proposal it would be necessary to displace people who are already in fact doing the work. That, of course, is a thing which people naturally do not want to do, but if, as I think, the clerk of a union, whether he was an existing clerk before 1898 or one appointed since, is the man who is qualified with the best local knowledge and who, therefore, can bring to the performance of the duties of an overseer, exactly those qualities which are most to be desired, then I do not think it is in the public interests that the rights of certain other persons should be allowed to stand in the way. For that reason I hope that after further consideration the right hon. Gentleman will find it possible in the public interest to give to., 2115 clerks of unions the same rights and powers as are given at present to the clerks appointed before 1898. It is immaterial when a clerk was appointed. The point is that the clerks of unions are the best men for this work. They are men who live in the district. The secretary of a county council may live at a great distance from the district, and he may not be familiar with the people or he may, as in my own county live 40, 50, or 60 miles from the homes of the people whose names have to be put upon the register. The clerks of unions are constantly brought into touch with the people; they have to check the rate-book fortnightly, and in many other ways they are in possession of information which no other officer in the locality can possibly have.
§ Mr. DUKE
The hon. Member reminds the House that so long ago as 1898 it was decided that the clerks whose claims are again brought to the notice of the House are not the best class of officers to discharge the duties of registration. By the Local Government Act (Ireland) of that year those duties were transferred to other persons who have been officially discharging them ever since. What the hon. Member proposes to do now is to reverse the effect of legislation which is now twenty years old, to take the duties out of the hands of people who are efficiently discharging them, with the consequence of having to pay them compensation, and to transfer them to a revived body of persons, who the House nearly twenty years ago decided were not the best persons to discharge them. I cannot consent to this Amendment.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. DUKE
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (7), to insert: "(8) The reference to the local authority having power to divide any Parliamentary county or Parliamentary borough into polling districts shall be construed in the case of a Parliamentary borough as a reference to the council of the municipal borough, and in the case of a Parliamentary county as a reference to the council of the 2116 administrative county which is coterminous with, or includes the whole or greater part of the Parliamentary county, and any existing powers in that behalf of a municipal borough council or county council shall be extended accordingly and shall be exerciseable as respects the whole of the Parliamentary borough or the Parliamentary county as the case may be."
The object of this Amendment is to clear up certain points in the definition of various Statutes in Ireland and the authorities which have the control of the division of polling districts. There are various Statutes which are somewhat complex. Various authorities are charged with the duty, such as the town council, town commissioners, justices, chairmen of quarter sessions, county councils, and so forth. The Sub-section which I have put down will place the duties in the hands of the proper local authority, which is to be the council of a municipal borough in the case of a Parliamentary borough, and the council of the administrative county in the case of a Parliamentary county.
§ Mr. HEALY
I had two Amendments down to the right hon. Gentleman's proposed Amendment, but I do not propose to move them. I think his Amendment makes a beneficial change in the law by vesting the power of dividing constituencies into polling districts in the county or borough councils. Under legislation passed so long ago as 1873, the chairman of Quarter Sessions was vested with this duty, because at that time there were no local bodies in which the power could be vested, and the chairman of Quarter Sessions probably was the only tribunal who was considered to have sufficient local colour to deal with the matter. That has been somewhat modified subsequently. I think the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment will meet with general assent, subject to the provisions contained in a later Schedule of the Bill. While I am in favour of giving to the county councils this power, I think there should be some appeal, and I understand that the right hon. Gentleman, in the provisions of a later Section, contemplates giving that appeal. At the present time the appeal lies from the Quarter Sessions to the Privy Council, but I think the appeal ought to be to the Local Government Board. In a later Schedule the right hon. Gentleman has incorporated a Section which provides for appeal, but as the appeal to the Privy Council is somewhat obsolete, because that is not the proper 2117 body to deal with a matter of this kind, I should be glad of an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that he will modify the Section giving the appeal by making it an appeal not to the Privy Council but to the Local Government Board.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. ARCHDALE
I beg to move, in Sub-section (8), after the word "officer," to insert the words "or with respect to the use of elementary schools."
Elementary schools in Ireland at present are not permitted to be used for the purpose of holding meetings of any kind, and in my country we find that that answers perfectly well. We look forward to having a very lively time at the next election. When other parties come in we generally have a lively time. When the next election comes off, and our men come ever from the Front, if the words now proposed are not inserted, every national school in Ireland will be turned into a sort of Hindenburg Line, with one party inside holding a meeting and another party outside trying to put them out. It would be very much better to keep the national schools free from anything of that sort.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. DUKE
I beg to move, to leave out Sub-section (9), and to insert instead thereof:(9) (a) The qualifying period shall be a period of six months ending on the fifteenth day of July and including that day;Provided that one month shall be substituted for six months in the application of this provision to a person who has been serving as a member of 2118 the naval or military forces of the Crown at any time during the said six months;(b) One register of electors only shall be made in each year and all provisions applicable to the autumn register shall apply as respects the yearly register(except that the yearly register shall remain in force until the fifteenth day of October in the next following year), and the provisions as to the preparation of two registers in each year and as to the spring register shall not apply.The object of this Amendment is to fulfil a promise which I made in the Committee stage with regard to the provision in the Bill for having two registrations in the year. This is not considered necessary, or, indeed, desirable in Ireland, having regard to the different conditions and I have drafted this Clause so as to preserve the old method of one registration in the year as being best adapted to Ireland.
§ Sir JAMES DOUGHERTY
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, at the end of paragraph (a), to insert the words"Provided that the provisions of Section 9 in Part II. of this Act shall apply in the cities of Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Derry."
The object of this Amendment is to except from the operation of the Chief Secretary's Amendment the four cities named, which are the only cities which, if the recommendations of the Boundary Commissioners are to be carried into effect, will have separate Parliamentary representation when this Bill becomes law.
§ Sir J. DOUGHERTY
My Amendment refers to the great industrial communities of Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Derry. I have no particular quarrel with the proposal of the Chief Secretary to substitute an annual for a semi-annual revision in the Irish counties. We all know that in the case of rural populations there is very little change. People are rooted to the soil and think twice before they change their place of abode. It is entirely different when we come to deal with industrial communities like those here mentioned. These have year by year con- 2119 siderable changes in the population. I know that the vote is preserved, but all the same there is the risk of accident, and a man may perchance lose his vote by changing his place of abode, and if he does lose his vote, then, under the Clause as proposed to be amended by the Chief Secretary, he is penalised to the extent of being left off the register for a whole year. The point, however, to which I wish to call particular attention and press on the Chief Secretary is this: In these industrial communities there is considerable migration from time to time from one city to another in Ireland and from one city to another between Ireland and Great Britain. When trade is dull in one locality the workmen there seek employment in another, and if the Clause as amended by the Chief Secretary is carried the effect would be that men coming from Glasgow, Sunderland, or the Clyde, or the East Coast to work in the shipyards of Belfast, or from some other industrial centre in Great Britain to take employment in Belfast, Derry, Cork, or Dublin, would find themselves in the position of having to take twice as long to get on the register in Ireland as if they had remained at home. This is a great anomaly which ought to be removed. This Bill is intended to sweep away some of the anomalies of the existing system, and though I do not think, after some of the things that have happened, that it is completely successful in this respect, yet it is desirable that we should remove anomalies if possible.
Only two arguments may be adduced in opposition to my proposal. One is that it would be anomalous to have one system of registration in a city and one system of registration in an adjoining county. I do not think there is much substance in that objection, because the circumstances and conditions of the rural constituency and those of the industrial constituency are entirely different. But even if this were not so, the Chief Secretary knows by this time that Ireland is a country of anomalies, and that one more or less does not particularly matter. The only other argument is that of economy. Now, we are all economists in Ireland, but there is one thing we prefer to economy, and that is efficiency. I believe that it is worth while to have as perfect a registration as we can get in these cities, and if it does involve a slightly greater expenditure I do not think that that is a matter that should 2120 be allowed to be the determining consideration. I hope the Chief Secretary will see his way to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. HEALY
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not accept this Amendment. The Mover of it has spoken as if the proposal on the Paper was the Chief Secretary's. That is not so. The Chief Secretary simply proposes to put, in somewhat different words, a proposal, which is already in the Bill, and which was put into the Bill in Committee on my motion. It was moved by me not on my own individual motion, but with the backing behind it of the Speaker's Conference, which took the view that one registration was sufficient in Ireland. The proposal at the Speakers' Conference was not made by me, but by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division. All the Irish Members at the Conference were consulted. I myself represented the city of Cork One of the Members of the city. of Dublin was present. He also was consulted, as was also the hon. Member for East Down, representing the Unionists. We were unanimous that this proposal for a biannual register, however applicable in England, would not be applicable to the circumstance of Ireland. The matter does, not stand there. When this matter was raised in Committee there was not a dissentient voice raised against the proposal. It is in no sense a party question. Alt parties are agreed on it. The Ulster Members in Committee—I do not know whether they have changed since—sup ported the proposal that one register in Ireland would be sufficient. I doubt whether in the whole Irish representation any Member can be found, except the Mover and Seconder, to support the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of anomalies. He is himself the living anomaly. He is the one being in Ireland who desires the register to be made twice in the year
Anybody who has had the misfortune to be much concerned in Irish Revision. Courts and knows the amount of labour which they involve, the amount of time spent on them, and the drag which they are on all persons interested in politics in particular constituencies, would view with absolute loathing and horror the proposal that we should have to go through that 2121 terrible process twice in the year. The right hon. Gentleman has, of course, the right to speak for Derry, which he represents. I know something of Derry. I spent five weeks fighting a revision in Derry, and that does not represent the whole of the work, as there were two Courts at work, so that there were really ten weeks' work in the revision of the city of Derry. Of course, things may be very different in future. The work we all hope and believe will be very much less, but it is idle to expect that in a constituency where political parties are closely divided there will not still be a considerable amount of work on every fresh occasion when a register has to be compiled. The one city in Ireland which would have a good case is Belfast. [An HON. MEMBER: "And Dublin!"] I have done work in these matters both in Dublin and Belfast, and I know that there is a strong feeling in Ireland in reference to the difficulties which arise from the shifting population; but I am not aware that there is any Member who is in favour of two registers in Ireland, even in relation to Belfast. There is also a considerable shifting of population in Dublin in regard to the terms of tenancy, which are such as do not exist in any other city in the whole world. The right hon. Gentleman above the Gangway may introduce an anomaly, if he chooses, in regard to Derry; but as to the rest of Ireland, I think we would all resist the proposal of being burdened with two registers in the year. I shall certainly resist the Amendment to the utmost extent in my power.
§ Mr. BRADY
I understand that the Chief Secretary has not yet spoken on the Amendment, and I, therefore, ask him to keep an open mind on this point. I cannot help thinking that there is a good deal to be said for this proposition, at any rate, in such places as that which is represented by the right hon. Gentleman above the Gangway, where there might be two registrations. The Member for Cork himself recognised, in the case of Belfast .and Dublin, that removals are very frequent. Many Members in this House enjoyed the opportunity of two elections in the year 1910, and at the second election the difficulties of a stale register were experienced, and in Ireland the removals presented considerable difficulty. Whilst I do not say that I am absolutely wedded to this idea of two registers, recognising as I do it would create certain anomalies as 2122 far as Ireland is concerned, I think there is a good deal to be said about this Amendment before we go into the Lobby. I would like to hear what the Chief Secretary has to say.
§ Mr. DUKE
My right hon. Friend, in his argument in support of this Amendment, was, it was pointed out by the Member for Cork, introducing a new anomaly by providing for registration twice a year in the city of Derry as one of the numerous distinctions of that city, though I think it would be a great task to impose on the community there. I am convinced that Ireland, as a whole, is satisfied with one registration a year, and that they would not like the prospect of two registrations a year. In that state of circumstances I would suggest that the Amendment should not be pressed.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment negatived.
§ Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.
§ Mr. DUKE
I beg to move, after the words last inserted, to add,(10) The yearly value of premises shall be taken to be the rateable value where those premises are separately assessed to rates, and in any other case shall be deemed to be the amount which would, in the opinion of the registration officer, be the rateable value if they were separately assessed.The Amendment is designed to meet a new state of facts which has arisen by the introduction into the Bill of standards of valuation. In England the term used is "gross estimated rental," which is a term that is differently applied in matters of registration. When the House was minded to modify the standard of valuation, it was simple enough to make reference, not to the rateable value, but to the old words, "the gross estimated rental. "In Ireland there is no such easy method of making the kind of change which has been made by the Bill, though it might be desirable, on the ground of principle, that it should be made. But I am satisfied that to introduce the words "gross estimated rental" in registration proceedings in Ireland would lead to endless confusion. There would be disputed questions of fact in every case where political feeling runs high as to what was the gross estimated rental. The term which is now in use in 2123 Ireland is the rateable value, which is the only term understood, and what I desire to effect by this Amendment is to retain for Ireland the standard of value which is known there, namely, the rateable value.
§ Mr. HEALY
If that is so, undoubtedly some Amendment is necessary, but I confess I am not entirely satisfied with the present proposal, because in Ireland the phrase is "separately assessed to rates." According to the wording of the Amendment, the value of the premises is taken. In Ireland we have the same valuation as in England, but the phrase in Ireland which is in use is "separately assessed to rates," and the words I would suggest to insert in the Amendment are that the rateable value shall be the rateable value where those premises are separately "valued," as put in my Amendment to the proposed Amendment.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment agreed to.
§ Proposed words, as amended, there inserted in the Bill.