HL Deb 09 April 1919 vol 34 cc243-4

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Expenses of local elections.

1. Subsection (1) of section five of the Municipal Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act, 1884, and subsection (1) of section nine of the Elections (Scotland) (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act, 1890 (which prescribe the maximum amount of the expenses of candidates), shall have effect, both as originally enacted and as applied by any other Act, as though "twopence for each elector" were substituted for "threepence for each elector"

Provided that no person shall be liable to any penalty or disability in respect of expenditure in excess of the amount permitted under the said Acts as amended by this Act, but not in excess of the amount which would have been permitted if this Act had not been passed, if the excess was due to expenses bona fide incurred or for which he had made himself liable before the passing of this Act, which would not leave been incurred or for which he would not have made himself liable if this Act had been in operation; and any person entitled to apply for relief under section twenty of the Municipal Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act, 1884, or section twenty four of the Elections (Scotland) (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act, 1890, may apply for relief on the ground that the excess was clue to such cause, and those sections shall have effect accordingly

THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD BIRKENHEAD) moved to omit from Clause 1 the whole of the proviso. The noble and learned Lord said: The Amendment which stands in my name, to leave out all the words from "elector" to the end of the clause, requires perhaps a word of reminder and of explanation. As the Bill was originally drafted it was intended to affect the then pending elections, and the words that I now propose to omit were necessary if that view were to be given effect to. But, as your Lordships may remember, very strong reasons were addressed to me when the Second Reading of this Bill was under consideration pointing to the inconvenience and even the unfairness of the position, or of any attempt to apply it to the then pending elections. I undertook then when the matter came before your Lordships on the Committee stage I would move the omission of these words. The elections took place under normal circumstances, and I move this Amendment in pursuance of the pledge that I then gave.

Amendment moved— Clause 1, page 1, line 12, leave out from ("elector") to the end of the clause.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clause agreed to.