HL Deb 07 June 1869 vol 196 cc1294-5

said, the other House had sent up to their Lordships for their concurrence, several Addresses to Her Majesty with reference to certain election inquiries in which the Judges had made special Reports. By the Act 15 & 16 Vict. c. 57 (Corrupt Practices at Elections Act) when an Election Committee came to a certain finding, an Address was to be moved in both Houses for the issue of a Commission to inquire into the prevalence of bribery; but it was necessary that there should be a finding that bribery had extensively prevailed, or that there was reason to believe that it had extensively prevailed at the election in question. By the Act of last Session the same course was to be taken, when—not a Select Committee of the House of Commons, but the learned Judge who presided at the trial of the election petition made a similar Report. That was the only difference between the Act 15 & 16 Vict. and the Act of last Session. Now, he had to ask their Lordships to agree in no less than six Addresses which, had been resolved upon by the House of Commons in pursuance of the Act of Last Session. With respect to live of these cases no question would arise; but as to the sixth a question did arise on the form of the Report made by the learned Judge who conducted the inquiry into that election. The Report related to the election for the City of Dublin. Upon that inquiry and that Report some question had arisen in the House of Commons, and he understood it was desired there should be some discussion on the matter before their Lordships. His noble and learned Friend (Lord Cairns) had communicated with him with reference to the Report—it was only fair and right to state—before the question was agitated at all in the other House, and he (the Lord Chancellor) took occasion to consult the Law Advisers of the Crown on the subject. He concurred in opinion with them that the case was one in which an Address was desirable. His noble and learned Friend, however, had doubts on the subject, and in that state of circumstances he was desirous that the matter should be discussed by their Lordships. He was only anxious that the right construction should be placed on the Act of Parliament; and the question was not a matter of technical knowledge, but one on which they were all able to form an opinion. The discussion he proposed should be taken to-morrow, and till then he should postpone the whole of the six cases.

House adjourned at half past Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.