§ MR. COLLINS
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, having regard to the provisions of the Act 22 Vic. c. 35, he maintains the interpretation of the statute he gave last Friday in answer to a Question, that in Municipal Elections the day of nomination and not the day of polling is the day of election, and if not, if the Government is prepared to take any steps with reference to the polling held at Gloucester, by open voting last Friday, for the election of a town councillor, contrary to the enactments of the recent Act of this Session? He also wished to know, Whether the right hon. Gentleman has heard that on Monday last, at the election of a town councillor for Boston, a ballot box was exhibited at the foot of the stair leading to the committee-room; that the electors were entrapped as they came to the poll—they were asked how they meant to vote, and had their papers filled up for them, the Returning Officer keeping a list of how each had voted? He wished to know, Whether, under these circumstances, the Government will forthwith send Copies of the Ballot Act to the Mayors of Corporate Towns to enable them to take such steps as will prevent such proceedings at elections being quashed?
, in reply, said, the Question put to him the other day was asked at three minutes' notice, and if he had made a mistake it would have been no 1752 great matter of surprise; but he entirely adhered to the accuracy of the answer he then gave. The Act applied to every election holden after the passing of the Act. The question was, what was meant by the holding of an election? The expression applied to all the proceedings, and not merely to the poll. He, therefore, adhered to his former answer. He had heard nothing of the proceedings at Boston on Monday last; he should not have thought that a constituency which sent to that House so rigid a supporter of constitutional forms as the hon. and learned Member could have been guilty of the irregularity described. His right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council would state the steps which had been taken in order to inform the mayors of boroughs and other authorities what they were required to do under the Act.