HL Deb 28 March 1901 vol 92 cc6-7


Order of the day for the Second Reading, read.


My Lords, the, object of this measure and of the Polling-Districts (County Councils) Bill, which is also down for Second Reading, is to remove certain anomalies which have arisen. Having regard to the constitutional severance of Peers from anything to do with elections or polling districts, I feel that in having a Bill of this nature entrusted to me I am rather in the position of a nun who had undertaken some alteration in the marriage laws. But I suppose I shall be allowed to move its Second Reading. Similar Bills were brought in in 1897, 1898, and 1899. In the latter year nothing was done, because it was expected that some provision would be inserted in the Local Government Act of last year, which would affect the question. Such, however, did not turn out to be the case. The Home Secretary, in reply to a communication from the London County Council, said he had no observations to offer with regard to the Bill, and we therefore assumed that his silence gave consent. As your Lordships are probably aware, the authorities who arrange the polling districts differ, and the effect of this Bill will be to make the county councils all over England the sole authority for settling the polling districts in Parliamentary electoral divisions just as they are in county council electoral divisions.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Ribblesdale.)


In the absence of the noble Lord who represents the Home Office, I am asked to state that my right hon. friend Mr. Ritchie has no objection to offer to the Bill; but he wishes it to be clearly understood that he can give no guarantee to support it.

On Question, agreed to: Bill road 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.