HL Deb 20 July 1900 vol 86 cc589-94

House in Committee (according to Order).

Clause 4:—


It is not quite certain to what burghs of barony and burghs of regality the Bill would apply, and the object of the Amendment standing in my name is to make it clear that it does not apply to any burghs which are not included in the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892.

Amendment moved— In Clause 4, page 1, line 24, to leave out from 'burgh of regality' to end of clause, and to insert' police burgh and any other burgh within the meaning of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892, to which that Act applied from its commencement."'—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 5 to 8 agreed to.

Clause 9:—


This clause provides the method by which burghs may sue and be sued, and the Amendment standing in my name makes it possible to sue in other ways and not to force them back on this clause. It is a matter of agreement, and I do not think there will be any opposition.

Amendment moved— In Clause 9, page 3, line 36, to leave out 'shall' and to insert 'may.'"—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 9, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 10 to 12 agreed to.

Clause 13:—


This clause deals with the reasons which may disqualify a man from retaining his seat as a councillor. Sub-section (a) provides that a person shall not be disqualified by reason only of his having any share or interest in any lease, feu, sale, or purchase of land, or any agreement for the same. Some of the Scottish burghs have large property which is known as the Common Good, and owing to the absence of a disqualification such as this in the early days of the century a good deal of the property of the burgh was made use of. I think it is better that those words should not remain in the clause, and that if a man has a lease of land from the burgh it should disqualify him for a seat.

Amendment moved— In Clause 13, page 5, line 20, to leave out Sub-section (a)."—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 14:—


I have thought it better to delete the greater portion of this clause, and to substitute words which, in the opinion of my Department, are clearer and preferable as a matter of drafting, rather than attempt to amend the clause as it stands. I do not think there will be any opposition to the Amendment, which gives burgh councils more power to declare as to the way in which a seat shall be vacated.

Amendment moved— In Clause 14, page 5, line 38, to leave out from end of line to end of clause, and to insert 'until (1) he voluntarily resigns; or (2) his disqualification has been determined by an election court under and within the meaning of the Elections (Scotland) (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act, 1890, on a petition presented within the time specified by said Act, by the town council or by any four or more electors, or, in the case of disqualification alleged to exist at the time of nomination or election, by any candidate opposing him at the election, provided that the last-mentioned Act shall be held to apply to the said petition and procedure thereon, provided that in the case of any continuing disqualification it shall be competent to present such petition at any time while the disqualification subsists; and provided also that if in the opinion of the election court any disqualified person has in the knowledge of his disqualification made an oath or declaration de fideli, or taken his seat in the town council, it shall he in the power of the Court to impose on him a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds, which fine shall be paid to the town council, and applied in such manner as they may direct; or (3) a resolution declaring his office vacant has been passed by the town council at a meeting of which notice shall be given to the councillor in question and to the other councillors of the burgh at least three days before the date of such meeting; provided that the said councillor shall be entitled to appeal against any such resolution by lodging a note of appeal within fourteen days after the date of such resolution in manner provided by Section 339 of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892; and provided, further, that no such appeal shall entitle the said councillor to vote and act as a councillor while the same is pending."—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 14, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 15 to 22 agreed to.

Clause 23:—


I beg to move the Amendment standing in the name of my noble friend the Marquess of Huntly, the object of which is to place persons who are ratepayers within Royal burghs on exactly the same footing as ratepayers who reside within police burghs.

Amendment moved— In Clause 23, page 8, line 10, after 'another' to insert 'or their residing more than seven miles beyond some part of the municipal boundary.'"—(The Earl of Camper-down.)


I am prepared to accept this Amendment. It is an entirely proper one, and does not in any way touch the Parliamentary franchise. It gets rid of an anomaly which has caused a great deal of hardship, and I accept it on the condition that if it is objected to in another place—I hope it will not be, but it is quite possible—in such a way as to imperil the Bill, I shall not be considered bound to stand by it.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 23, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 24 to 35 agreed to.

Clause 36:—


This clause deals with casual vacancies. It is the custom in Scotland for casual vacancies in town councils to be filled up by co-optation, but it is thought that when they occur at the beginning of the municipal year, immediately after an election has taken place, they should be filled by a new election. The Amendment standing in my name gives power for such a procedure to be adopted.

Amendment moved— In Clause 36, page 12, line 18, at end of clause to insert 'provided that any vacancy so occurring may, if the town council so resolve, be filled up ad interim as soon as may he by a special election by the electors, and such election shall be held as nearly as may be under the provisions of this Act, and the returning officer at such election shall, subject to the approval of the town council, fix the date of the election, and shall fix the dates for the issue of all necessary notices and for lodging and withdrawing nomination papers, so that the intervals between such respective dates shall be the same as in the case of ordinary elections under this Act.'"—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 36, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 37 to 60 agreed to.

Clause 61: —


This clause provides that in the event of the provost being prevented at any time from fulfilling, or failing to fulfil, any of the duties of his office on account of illness, absence from home, or from attendance at any meeting or any other cause, such duty shall be performed by the senior bailie. The clause as it stands is, however, too wide, as it would put the senior bailie on all the committees and trusts of which the provost is a member. The object of my Amendments is to limit the business for which the senior bailie should act in the absence of the provost simply to municipal affairs.

Amendment moved— In Clause 61, page 17, line 31, after 'office' to insert' under this Act or the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892.'"—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 61, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 62 to 87, agreed to.

Clause 88:—


This clause deals with the ease of an official of a burgh who has made away with the funds, and provides that the deficiency shall be charged against the particular rate to which the funds belong, which are the matter of his misconduct. It is obviously a right clause.

Amendment moved— In Clause 88, page 24, line 25, after 'levied' to insert 'or funds managed.'"— (Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 88, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 89 to 101 agreed to.

Clause 102:—


I propose to add a proviso to this clause for the sake of making sure that we are preserving the existing law in certain burghs whose council have the power of appointing one of their number as dean of guild.

Amendment moved— In Clause 102, page 29, line 10, at end of clause to insert 'and in any burgh where under the existing' law it has been the custom of the town council to appoint a councillor to perform the duties and functions formerly performed by the dean of guild in such council, or in any dean of guild court of such burgh, the council may continue to make such an appointment, and the whole provisions of this Act relating to the appointment, tenure, vacating office, and supply of vacancies applicable to a bailie shall be applicable to the councillor so appointed.'"—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 102, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 103 to 108 agreed to.

Clause 109 amended, and agreed to.

Clauses 110 to 115 agreed to.


I now move a new clause to make sure that the rights of counties in certain properties which they have, such as waterworks and the like, shall not be affected by this Bill. I am myself not quite clear that the clause is required, but two or three of the counties in Scotland have made representations that unless this clause is inserted they will run the risk of being deprived of their property, and on the whole I think it is wise to insert the clause.

Amendment moved— To insert as a new clause, 'Nothing in this Act contained shall affect the rights, powers, or authorities of any county council or district committee of a county council or local authority of a county or a district of a county under the Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1897; or prejudice the provisions of Sub-sections 1 and 2 of Section 81 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889, as amended by Section 44 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1894.'"—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)

New Clause agreed to.

Bill re-committed to the Standing Committee; and to be printed as amended. (No. 203.)