HL Deb 18 April 1845 vol 79 c934
The Marquess of Normanby

said, that he should then present the Bill of which he had given notice, for the extension of the franchise to all persons paying the Income Tax. Some doubt appeared to be entertained when he alluded to the subject on a former evening, as to the utility of his plan, but from inquiries which he had since made, he had reason to believe that the proposed measure would give a very beneficial extension to the elective franchise, even in cities and boroughs. There were many annuitants, retired tradesmen, professional men, and others, contributors to the Income Tax, who resided in lodgings in all the cities and large towns, and there were also a considerable number of the same class living in counties beyond the limits of adjoining boroughs. These would all be benefited by his measure, and would prove a very enlightened and independent body of voters. The right of voting would of course be confined to the limits of the respective counties or boroughs. Without entering further into the provisions of the Bill, he begged to move that it be now read a first time.

Lord Stanley

said, he presumed there was no objection to allow the Bill to be read a first time without entering into any discussion on its merits. He merely rose for the purpose of expressing a hope that, in assenting to such a course, he would not be supposed by the noble Marquess to give any concurrence in the very novel principle in legislation which the measure introduced. Perhaps his noble Friend meant to guarantee that the Income Tax was to be a permanent source of taxation.

The Marquess of Normanby

said, he wished he could guarantee that the Income Tax would not be a permanent tax, but from what what, had before fallen, from his noble Friend on the subject, he thought he had every ground for fearing that the Income Tax was intended to be permanently continued. The Bill would, of course, limit the duration of the franchise conferred by it to the continuance of the Income Tax. His noble Friend had spoken of the principle of the Bill as one novel in legislation, but his noble Friend was himself not long a Member of that House, or he would have known that his allusion to an objection to the first reading of any Bill was itself a most novel proceeding in their Lordships' House.

Bill read 1a.

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