HL Deb 26 July 1885 vol 300 cc216-7

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


said, that this was no Party question; and if it had in the first instance been included in the Franchise Bill, in "another place," it would probably have prevented that Bill passing unchanged through their Lordships' House. It had been stated that such a Bill ought not to originate in their Lordships' House. He ("Lord Denman) had endeavoured on June 23 to pass it, without discussion—that the Committee might be deferred—and any discussion, as in the Party Processions Act (Ireland), August 8, 1832—in the House of Commons—might be taken on that stage. He had never pressed forward the Bill; but when he found that it could not be proceeded with "elsewhere," he thought it right to renew it. He would never take a second reading with the understanding that it was to proceed no farther; for, in case of any conference between the two Houses on any other Bill, there might be time for its passing into law. He had presented many Petitions for it from England and Wales, from Scotland and from Ireland, and he believed not a single Petition had been presented against it; and a printed paper signed by several women of station and intelligence had been sent to every Member of their Lordships' House. He considered that the Franchise Bill was imperfect without it. There was an instance in which the grandmother—a mother of a late tenant of his—had successfully managed a farm of 400 acres as well as that tenant; and it was unjust that widows should be ejected from their farms—as Mr. Joseph Arch had stated to have been done—because they could not vote. Lady Sterling, in East Lothian, had managed her land successfully; and it was hard that her labourers should vote instead of their employer. His own wife had received a notice to give the names of all those employed on her farm, before a day which had passed. No doubt, it was late in the Session to revive a Bill of this character; but it would be better to pass it before a General Election, even if too late for registration, and he hoped that their Lordships would agree to its second reading.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Lord Denman.)


said, he thought a noble Earl opposite, who favoured the principle of the Bill, had indicated the course he should adopt with regard to this measure.


said, that as he thought this was an improper way of bringing forward the question, he stated that he would leave the House rather than take part in a division upon it.


said, it would be unfortunate that such a course should be taken, and ho, therefore, moved the Previous Question.

A Question being stated thereupon, the Question was put Whether the said Question shall be now put; Resolved in the negative.