§ THE EARL OP MALMESBURY
My Lords, to prevent such misunderstandings as I am sorry to say occurred lust week, I think it right to interrupt the Business of the evening for the purpose of stating to your Lordships that it has come to my knowledge that a very important Amendment in the Scotch Reform Bill has been carried in the House of Commons against the Government. I will in a few words explain the effect of the Amendment. Your Lordships are aware that in Scotland occupiers of houses rated at a yearly value of less than £4 do not pay poor rates. As the Bill stood when it left your Lordships' House such persons would not have a vote; but, as I understand it, the effect of the Amendment carried this evening in the House of Commons will be that all persons who are Otherwise qualified will be allowed to claim the right of voting as if they had been assessed for rates and had paid their rates. The effect of this would be to add a very large number of voters to the lists. My Lords, it appears to me that, after our discussions here last week, both sides came to the decision that the Bill should be regarded as settled, and, accordingly, we refrained from making any Amendments in it, and we had no reason to expect that further Amendments would be made in it when it went back to the Commons. Under that impression, Her Majesty's Government will resist in this House the Amendment of the Commons, and I cannot help appealing to noble Lords opposite to support us in doing so. I shall move the Scotch Reform Bill as the first Order to-morrow, because I believe it is very important that the Bill should be back in the Commons by nine o'clock, and if we take it up at five o'clock I think there will be no difficulty in that.
§ EARL RUSSELL
Of course I entirely concur with the noble Earl that it is not the fault of Her Majesty's Government that the Bill should come back to this House with an Amendment, as they have supported the Bill in the shape it left this 904 House. I think the noble Earl is quite right in fixing the Bill for the first Order tomorrow. I do not know what the particular Amendment is, but I shall endeavour to support Her Majesty's Government.
§ Bill returned from the Commons, with several of the Amendments made by the Lords agreed to; certain Amendments agreed to, with Amendments; and One Amendment disagreed to, for which they assign a Reason: The said Reason, and Bill, with the Amendments, to be printed; and to be taken into Consideration To-morrow. (No. 235.)