HL Deb 25 February 1904 vol 130 cc944-5

Order of the day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, both of the Bills which I have charge of to-night are old friends here, and I believe they are both unopposed. The attitude of the President of the Local Government Board towards this Bill is actively friendly. Both Bills passed through your Lordships' House in 1901; in 1902 they were withdrawn because there was a Government Bill in the other House which it was thought would make them unnecessary; and in 1903 they passed through the House of Lords but failed to get through the other House. All that the Bill, the Second Reading of which I am now moving, does is to enable county councils, who are at present the sole authorities for dividing electoral divisions in their counties into polling districts for the purpose of county council elections, to alter the polling districts as occasion may require. At present it appears that, once the arrangement is made for a polling district, on the advice of Sir Robert Finlay and Sir Edward Clarke it is impossible to make any change. This has led to considerable difficulties from time to time. I do not know that I need cite the several advantages which would result from the passing of the Bill, but, speaking generally, circumstances, such as a change in the character of a locality, often make it desirable that alterations should be able to be made, and that districts should be co-terminous for both county council and Parliamentary elections.

On Question, Bill read 2a (according to Order) and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.