HL Deb 05 May 1891 vol 353 cc131-2

Bill read 3a (according to Order.)


When this Bill was before the Standing Committee certain words which had been inserted in the other House were struck out, those words being—"As from the passing of the County Electors' Act, 1888." That was done at the instance of the County of Lancaster. On behalf of that county objection was offered to a provision being made that was retrospective; but I think I shall show your Lordships that really it ought to stand in the form in which it came up from the other House. It is an Act not purporting to create a new condition of things, but to resolve doubts by declaring what the law is. The result of the previous legislation was found to be this: that a borough might be called upon to pay part of the expenses of registration in the county, with which it had no concern, and even in cases in which those within the borough were not represented on the County Council because they were a county in themselves. That was found to be a great hardship, and the view taken by the Local Government Board was that that was not the law. They said it had never been so intended, and they advised that the payments should not be made. Other learned persons, however, were of opinion that it was the law, and, consequently, there being that doubt, this Bill was introduced. In the other House, with the assent of the President of the Local Government Board, it was made a declaratory Act, so that it should not deal with the matter as though the enactment were made for the first time, but it declared that that was the law, and that it should take effect as from the passing of the Act—that it was no more than expressing the intention of the Local Government Board, and that it produced the effect which they considered was the effect of the legislation they had introduced. Some point has been raised in the other House as to its being competent to your Lordships to deal here with the matter in the way in which it has been dealt with, inasmuch as it trenches upon a subject of taxation and imposes a burden where it would not otherwise fall; but I need not go into that now. These matters were not before the Committee, inasmuch as the proposal was made somewhat suddenly, and without having in view all its possible effects. I therefore beg to move this Amendment, which is simply to replace the Bill in the condition in which it was when it came from the other House.

Amendment moved, in page 1, line 27, after ("shall") to insert ("as from the passing of 'the County Electors Act, 1888.'")—(The Lord Herschell.)

Agreed to.

Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.

House adjourned at Six o'clock, to Friday next, a quarter past Ten o'clock.