HL Deb 20 July 1835 vol 29 cc724-5
Lord Grey

had a Petition to present relative to the subject which then occupied their Lordships' attention, and, although it was somewhat out of the proper time for offering it, he trusted their Lordships would, Under the particular circumstances, excuse his doing so. It was the petition of a very numerous and respectable meeting at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, presided over by the Mayor of its Corporation, and its prayer was, that their Lordships might pass the Bill for the regulation of Municipal Corporations of England and Wales without in any way imparing its beneficial provisions or detracting from its efficiency. The petition was signed by the Mayor of New-castle-upon-Tyne alone, but it was so signed by him as Chairman of the meeting; and, although, according to the rules of their Lordships' House, it could only be presented as the petition of the individual who had signed it, he had authority to state that it might be considered as an expression of the sense and opinion of the district in question as to the Bill to which it referred. He was aware that the presentation of a petition, praying their Lordships to pass a Bill not yet before them, was to a certain degree irregular; but as several petitions under like circumstances had been already received, and as he was not likely to have another opportunity of presenting it, being under the necessity of leaving town immediately, he trusted their Lordships Would have no objection to receiving it. If its presentation were objected to, he would at once withdraw it and leave it in the hands of some noble Friend. The prayer of the petition, he repeated, was, that their Lordships might be pleased to pass unimpaired and unaffected the measure of Corporation Reform about to be presented for their consideration. He was glad to have that opportunity of declaring his hearty concurrence in and approbation of the measure to which the petition alluded. He had long seen with pain and anxiety the many abuses and anomalies existing in the Corporation system of the kingdom, and it had been for years his wish that a measure similar to that now before the other House should become law. A Commission of Inquiry having been appointed, a most rigorous investigation took place, and the result of that investigation was, that all the abuses and anomalies alleged to exist were proved, so that nobody could doubt the existence of them. To the principle of the Bill he did not expect there would be any opposition. To the details of the measure their Lordships would, no doubt, in the exercise of their deliberative functions, give every attention; and considering them with every impartiality and justice, their object, he was persuaded, would be to pass the Bill in such a manner as might best give effect to the great principle in which it was framed, namely, that of giving to the several Corporations of England a good and permanent system of Municipal Government. If the Bill were passed in its present form he was confident it was calculated to meet the wishes of the people of England; but should their Lordships, in their wisdom, think proper to alter it, he sincerely trusted their Amendments would be directed by a desire of extending and perfecting, rather than of impairing the machinery by which the principle was to be called into operation. He begged, in conclusion to offer the petition which he referred to their Lordships' consideration.

The Earl of Aberdeen

observed, that only a few days ago, a petition which had been presented by a noble Friend of his was withdrawn as irregular, it being against a Bill still in its progress in the House of Commons. If their Lordships intended to be consistent, they could not receive the noble Earl's petition; and he thought the noble Earl had better not press its presentation.

Lord Segrave

expressed a similar opinion.

Earl Grey

was quite aware that the petition came within the absolute rule of exclusion; but under the peculiar circumstances which he had mentioned, he had hoped that their Lordships might receive it. He had no objection to withdraw the petition.

Petition withdrawn.