HL Deb 18 March 1889 vol 334 cc4-5

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


With regard to this proposal, it is again one which your Lordships have had before you on more than one occasion. In the Representation of the People Bill, the noble Marquess, then Leader of the Opposition, secured me four days in order for the insertion of my Amendment as to Women's Suffrage, without which the Bill seemed to me to be imperfect. It seems to me not only a ludicrous anomaly, but a great hardship, that whilst labourers and others employed on a certain estate have the franchise, the owner of the estate, if she happens to be a widow or a spinster, should not be on at least equal terms. In the House of Commons the Second Reading of a Bill similar to this has once been carried, although in a manner not very creditable to that House. If your Lordships grant the Second Reading of this Bill it will be a gracious act; it will commit you to nothing, and the details of the measure can be thrashed out in Committee.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read2a"—(The Lord Denman.)


I am sorry to appear in any way obstructive, especially on a question as to the main points of which I am in general agreement with the noble Lord, But, my Lords, I hold that it is a very important principle that each House should look after its own constitution. I would not encourage any proposals by the House of Commons as to the constitution of the House of Lords, and nothing would be more calculated to have that effect than if your Lordships were to consent to this proposal. On this short ground, I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.

Amendment moved, to leave out "now," and add at the end of the Motion "this day six months."—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)


I understand that, on a previous occasion, the noble Marquess expressed himself in favour of the principle of the measure. It would no doubt, have greater weight if Her Majesty's Government introduced a Bill on the subject in the other House of Parliament.


When I uttered the opinion to which the noble Lord refers, I was very careful to say that it was only my own personal opinion that I was expressing, and I did not in any way speak on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.

On Question, That the word "now" stand part of the Motion, resolved in the negative.

Bill to be read 2a this day six months.