§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, it was introduced originally in 1874. It was referred to a Select Committee, of which Mr. Walpole was Chairman, and that Committee examined many returning officers with reference to their scale of charges. The object of the Bill was to regulate those charges at fixed sums. At present returning officers charged pretty much what they liked, and no candidate could well defend an action brought by them against him. As the law now stood, an impecunious candidate could insist upon all expenses being incurred, and the returning officer had no remedy but in an action to recover expenses. At the Haverfordwest election, in 1874, a candidate appeared who did not contribute his quota of the expenses. The returning officer would not allow him to go to the poll. The consequence was a Petition, and Lord Kensington, the successful candidate, was unseated for the time, though he succeeded in getting re-elected at the fresh election. By the present Bill the charges were to be settled in accordance with the number of the electors, and the Bill would enable the returning officer to claim a deposit for expenses from a real bonâ fide candidate. If their Lordships agreed to read the Bill a second time he should propose in Committee that it be extended to Ireland, this being in accordance with the wish of the Irish Members of the House of Commons.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Viscount Enfield.)
§ Motion agreed to:—Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Friday next.