§ Order read that the Bill (not amended in the Standing Committee) be considered.
§ Mr. J. F. REMNANT
I rise to move the recommittal of this Bill for reasons of the sufficiency of which I hope to convince the House. In the Committee upstairs to which this Bill was sent we did not do more than protest against the Bill being taken in Committee in view of the pledge to which I will refer in a few minutes. This recommittal which is now sought for is consistent with the course taken in the Committee upstairs. There must be a large number of hon. Members in the House now who were present in April, 1907, when the new Procedure Rules were under discussion. On that occasion my hon. Friend the Member for the Ashford Division of Kent (Mr. Laurence Hardy) moved an Amendment which would have had the effect of removing any Bills relating to Parliamentary reform or franchise from the possibility of being sent upstairs. The then Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, in the course of his remarks, made on that occasion, said that he was perfectly willing to admit and to accept the spirit of the Amendment, but he was afraid to accept it in view of others coming afterwards, 19 because he held it might be considered as fettering the discretion of this House; and he went further, and said that no Government would think of sending a Franchise Bill such as was sought to be included in the Amendment upstairs, because it would be such a violent reversal of the old practice, and they might trust any Government to abstain from such a course. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition on that occasion, in criticising the course taken by the Government, said he thought every hon. Member would agree with him that it often was found impossible to resist pressure from various sections of the House to act contrary to the intentions expressed on different occasions—intentions no doubt well meant enough, but which, under pressure, were very likely to be departed from in the future. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition on that occasion also called attention to the fact of the short memory of this House; but surely the memory of right hon. Gentlemen opposite must be extremely short if they forget what took place when the Procedure Rules were under discussion. It was distinctly promised by the then Prime Minister that no measure which could be called a reform or franchise Bill should be sent upstairs to Committee, but that it should be dealt with by Committee of the whole House. The present Bill, which deals with the constitution of the House, is undoubtedly one which, according to that statement, ought to be discussed in Committee of the whole House instead of in Committee upstairs. I am prevented by the Rules of the House from going into its merits, and I therefore confine myself to pointing out to the Government that the circumstances in connection with this measure are precisely those to which the late Prime Minister referred, and the Government cannot complain if they are accused of a breach of faith in regard to the pledge which was given to this House on the occasion to which I have referred. I am quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of the Bill must admit that there is good ground for recommitting it to the whole House. He may have forgotten what took place; if he has, I appeal to him to carry out the intentions expressed on that occasion, by allowing this Bill to be recommitted to Committee of the whole House.
§ Sir HENRY KIMBER
I propose to second the Motion, not only on the ground 20 of the very serious pledge which has been alluded to by the hon. Member who moved it, but also on the ground of the peculiar nature of this Bill, and the conduct of the Government in the management of it so far as it has gone. What is the nature of this Bill? It is a measure which the right hon. Gentleman, when he introduced it into this House, himself stated it did not on the face of it show its object. It is quite true it did not. First of all, I should remind the House, it was introduced under the ten minutes' Rule, and the right hon. Gentleman said he thought ten minutes was quite sufficient to secure the general acceptance of the Bill, because it was so simple and so useful in its nature. He stated no grounds for introducing it. The Bill contains practically only one clause, a clause for converting the county of London into a single borough. The right hon. Gentleman stated in his opening speech that it would have four results. One was that successive occupation would be ensured between all parts of Greater London; secondly, there would be simultaniety of polling all over Greater London; thirdly, the area of residential occupation would be enlarged; and last, not least—and this is what is really the main or sole object of the Bill—it would abolish the dual vote. He did not use those words, but I use them because, in plain vernacular, they describe what is intended. The right hon. Gentleman, in mentioning the four points, used the expression, "in London as in Birmingham," and said when the Bill was printed and put before Members they would see very plainly what was the nature of it. The House naturally when it gives a Minister leave to introduce a Bill expects some explanatory memorandums, especially when the Minister himself admits that it does not disclose the object on the face of it. It is a Bill of which it might be said that it disclosed no virtues and no vices. All its virtues were to be found out, and all its vices were to be exposed under discussion. When the Bill came on for second reading the right hon. Gentleman did not condescend to give the House any further speech in explanation of it, although I shall show that it is very different to me from the grounds on which he defended it. He said on each of the four points that it was a Bill "to make London as in Birmingham." He rather prided himself on that expression, but I think I shall be able to show that the Bill will not make "London as in Birmingham."
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member's opportunity for doing that has passed. His opportunity for showing that it does not do so was on the second reading. The proposition now is that the Bill be recommitted, and the hon. Gentleman must bring some arguments forward in support of the recommittal of the Bill.
§ Sir H. KIMBER
I will avoid the merits of the Bill, but on the occasion of the third reading I propose to move its rejection, and I may then be permitted to go into these matters. I am content to say on this point that the Bill is eminently one which ought to have been explained either by a memorandum or by a speech on the second reading, or the right hon. Gentleman, by some means or other—by a Paper placed before the House, in black and white—should have informed the House and the country what was intended to be done with the 59 constituencies with which the Bill deals. I merely say this: That the expression "in London as in Birmingham" is not correct, and that the true contrast would have been—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order."]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman is resuming his speech at the point at which I said he was not entitled to go into the matter, yet he still persists in going into it. I must ask him to confine himself to putting forward arguments to show why the Bill should be recommitted to the House.
§ Sir H. KIMBER
I shall endeavour strictly to obey your ruling, Sir. I was only going to make one single observation, but I will not make it now. I take up at the point at which I was called to order. As to the Bill, therefore neither before this House nor before the country has there been any statement in black and white from the Government of what it proposed to do. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech on the second reading, admitted, as he was bound to admit, that the Bill did abolish dual voting in London.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member will persist in discussing the merits of the Bill, and I must ask him to discontinue his speech. Will any hon. Member second?
§ The FIRST COMMISSIONER of WORKS (Mr. Harcourt)
I am really at a loss to know exactly the ground I have to meet in the suggestion that this Bill should be recommitted to the whole House. The only argument, so far as I have been able 22 to discover, put forward is that the Bill as I produced it was naked in form and yet disclosed nothing. It is certainly the most remarkable Bill in that respect that has ever been produced in Parliament. The hon. Member for Holborn (Mr. Remnant), who ably led his party upstairs during our short proceedings in Grand Committee, must have forgotten the speech with which he opened the proceedings there. He made no protest whatever against this Bill having been committed to a Grand Committee, and not one word of protest of any sort or kind as to the procedure.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
I am within the recollection of any Member who was present, and I have an especial reason for remembering it, because I was expecting that protest from the hon. Member, and was surprised that he did not make it, and I was rather sorry for him, because I felt afterwards that he had forgotten to make it. The words which the hon. Member used were that he disapproved of the whole principle of the Bill, and that he and the party for whom he spoke proposed to move no Amendments, because they regarded the Bill as unamendable.
§ Mr. REMNANT
I am sorry to keep on interrupting, but I had no authority to speak for my party. I could only speak for myself. I certainly was under the impression that I commenced by saying that I objected to the whole procedure.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
I have no right to attribute authority to the hon. Member, but he used the regal and editorial "we" with great effect, and was uncontradicted by any of those who crowded round to his support. I am not able to admit that this Bill comes into the category of a franchise Bill at all. It only relates to some inequalities which London suffers, and which no other great town in the country suffers. I should absolutely repudiate any idea of a breach of faith in sending such a Bill as this to Grand Committee, where it might very suitably be discussed, and where I was prepared and anxious to discuss it, and to spend many happy days with the hon. Member even without authority to represent his party. A question was put to the Prime Minister before the second reading of this Bill, reminding him of the words of the late Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. The Prime Minister, after careful consideration, told 23 the House he was quite clear that this Bill did not come within the category or sort of measure which was in the mind of the late Prime Minister or of the Government when he made that promise. I cannot see, when they have missed their opportunity of amending this Bill in Committee, and when they have now mended their hand and occupied the Notice Paper of the House, why we should recommit the Bill. We have plenty of time, and we can have ample discussion of all the points they wish to raise, and to meet them in the most conciliatory spirit, and I hope we may now proceed with the Report stage.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
The right hon. Gentleman confined himself, as he usually does, to jests. He says he is at a loss to know why this Motion is made. He bases that absence of knowledge on the fact that my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn (Mr. Remnant) did not advance a specific point at proceedings in Grand Committee, and pretends that he did not know what the real ground of objection before the Standing Committee was. It may have been that my hon. Friend did not state in absolutely specific terms what was not only in his own mind but in everybody's mind. There are some things which often get forgotten because they are so well known to everybody that people are apt not to make specific mention of them. The right hon. Gentleman says that he did not know what was the real motive of the Motion made in Standing Committee, and that it is quite inconceivable to him that the procedure was even objected to, and that the contention was that the Bill was not a fit or proper Bill to send to Standing Committee. All I can tell him is that if he did not know, it was perfectly well known to everybody else in this House, not only then but before then and now. That is shown by the fact that this question was put to the Prime Minister.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
All I said was that that objection to the procedure was not made in Grand Committee, nor was it given as the reason for putting down no Amendments. The reason given was that from the point of view of the hon. Member for Holborn and his Friends the Bill was unamendable.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
To every hon. Member it was perfectly well known that the ground of the Opposition in Standing Committee was that the Bill was 24 improperly sent to the Committee at all. It was on that ground, a perfectly good ground, they chose to abstain and refrain from taking any part in the proceedings of that Committee. Under those circumstances I confess it seems to me to amount to the highest Parliamentary effrontery for the right hon. Gentlemen to constitute themselves the judges of the strict and accurate literal meaning of the pledges that were given to this House, and on the faith of which the Standing Orders of this House were altered. The right hon. Gentleman thinks this is not a franchise Bill, and that he is justified in placing that interpretation on the pledges given by his late Leader. All I can say is, that if he imagines that because it only concerns the representation of 60 seats in this House, that that does not appear to him to be a matter of great importance, it is not very difficult to conceive circumstances, possibly not very distant in date, when the decision of the representation of 60 seats in this House might very easily decide the fate of the Ministry. Upon that ground-alone, if not on the many others that must necessarily suggest themselves, we say, and we shall maintain, that this Bill came well within the measures mentioned by the late Prime Minister, that it is a franchise Bill, and is a question not to be settled in Standing Committee, and we shall remain totally discontented with the procedure taken in respect to this Bill. I hope my hon. Friend will persist in his Motion.
§ Mr. W. C. STEADMAN
I did not take up the time of the House on the second reading of this Bill, although I probably know as much as most Members about London elections, having taken an active part in them ever since 1868. I was anxious to see the Bill go through. I am not able to discuss its merits at the present stage, but I may say that the Bill does not go far enough for me, as a London Member.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member ought to have raised that point in the Standing Committee. It does not arise now.
§ Mr. STEADMAN
Honestly speaking, I regret the quarter from which this Motion for recommital has been made. It is true that the hon. Member for Holborn (Mr. Remnant) and I were not in the same school, but we were neighbours; I have worked with him in other places for a good many years, and I am not ashamed to say that as an English gentleman I respect him. Therefore I would rather the opposition had come from another quarter. I 25 can quite understand the opposition of the hon. Member for Wandsworth (Sir H. Kimber). He has a grievance, not only against his own Government when they were in power, but against the present Government. I have said on more than one occasion that I am not a Conservative.
§ Mr SPEAKER
These questions, interesting as they may be, do not arise on this Motion. The only question before the House is whether the Bill shall be recommitted
§ to a Committee of the whole House. The hon. Member must confine himself to that question.
§ Mr. STEADMAN
I will not take up any more of the time of the House. I hope a Division will be taken.
§ Question put, "That the Bill be recommitted to a Committee of the whole House."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 64; Noes, 115.25
|Division No. 798.]||AYES.||[3.45 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Craik, Sir Henry||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Ashley, W. W.||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Faber, George Denison (York)||Moore, William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Oddy, John James|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fell, Arthur||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fletcher, J. S.||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gardner, Ernest||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Gretton, John||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Bull, Sir William James||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Carille, E. Hlldred||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Stanier, Beville|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Starkey, John R.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Heaton, John Henniker||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Helmsley, Viscount||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hill, Sir Clement||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Clark, George Smith||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Younger, George|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Remnant and Sir H. Kimber.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Ginnell, L.||Nolan, Joseph|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Alden, Percy||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||O'Grady, J.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Gulland, John W.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Hart-Davies, T.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Radford, G. H.|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Rees, J. D.|
|Bothell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Haworth, Arthur A.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|Bothell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hedges, A. Paget||Robertson, Sir G Scott (Bradford)|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Brooke, Stopforu||Higham, John Sharp||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes, Leigh)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Horniman, Emslle John||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Idris, T. H. W.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cameron, Robert||Jardine, Sir J.||Seely, Colonel|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Keating, M.||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Clough, William||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Laidlaw, Robert||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Leese, Sir Joseph (Accrington)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Verney, F. W.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Crossley, William J.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||McKenna, Rt. Hon Reginald||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Masterman, C. F. G.||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Micklem, Nathaniel||Wiles, Thomas|
|Ferens, T. R.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Nicholls, George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
§ Bill, not amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Clause of the Noble Lord the hon. Member for Marylebone (Lord Robert Cecil), and the Clause of the hon. Member for the University of London (Sir Philip Magnus), will come as Amendments to Clause 4.
§ Duty of Person Registered in More than One Constituency.
§ "If any person becomes aware that he is registered in more than one Constituency, and one of such entries is in respect of his place of abode, for the first time on the day of the poll he may make before the presiding officer of the polling station to which he is allotted in the Constituency which he desires to select, a statutory declaration of selection in the form prescribed by Order in Council under this Act.
§ "A statutory declaration so made shall have the same effect as if the elector had given notice of his selection of the Constituency in the manner required by this Act, and the presiding officer shall allow the elector to vote accordingly, and shall transmit any statutory declaration so made before him to the returning officer."
§ My Amendment is one which I hope will commend itself to the right hon. Gentleman. Its adoption will be doing an Act of common fairness to the electors.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
The new Clause proposed by the hon. Member would give an elector whose name has accidentally or actually been entered on more than one register the right to select on which he will vote. The hon. Member says it will be an act of common fairness to the electorate. But it is an act which is not allowed in any other divided borough in the United Kingdom. I am extremely anxious to meet the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite that there should be no exceptional treatment for London. I am anxious to treat London only as other large boroughs. But the operation of the ordinary law in any other borough, say Manchester, where a man accidentally appears on more than one register for the divisions is that he is then entitled to vote for his residence, and for his residence only. That has proved, I think, satisfactory to the rest of the country, and should prove satisfactory for London. It 28 is a small, subsidiary point, but I do not feel quite certain that the words of the hon. Member would be sufficient to give the presiding officer the power to take the statutory declaration, unless he happened to be a person already empowered by law to take a statutory declaration. It is possible he might have to be given some statutory powers for this purpose. I cannot accept an Amendment to make the law in London different to any other place.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Surely the right hon. Gentleman must recognise that the conditions in London under this Bill, if it becomes law, will be very different to any other place. The conditions he proposes to establish in London only exists where there is real unity and common life in the area so treated. That is not the least true in London. A man may have a qualification at one end of London and live at another, and, unless he is a lawyer, be absolutely ignorant of the fact that he has to take certain steps in order to secure his vote in the place where he desires to vote. Under the circumstances it does appear to me that the Amendment of my hon. Friend is required and desirable to meet the special circumstances it is proposed to establish.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I think the proposed Clause is a very fair one. I do not think that the analogy of Manchester, quoted by the right hon. Gentleman, is applicable. In Manchester we have a number of divisions. It is quite true, as the right hon. Gentleman said, that if you have not formally signed a paper and made an absolute choice, you have simply to vote in the division in which you reside. But this new Clause is rather directed against a different state of affairs. It is possible for the electors in London to suddenly find out, much to their surprise, that they are also registered in some other division of London. This very thing happened to myself. I was entirely unaware last year, until a municipal election came in the City of Westminster, that I was registered as a voter in Westminster. Under circumstances such as these, I think a man should have some reasonable facilities for making a selection. I take it that is the intention of the new Clause, and for that reason I think it ought to be adopted.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 62; Noes, 122.29
|Division No. 799.]||AYES.||[4.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex, F.||Faber, George Denison (York)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Oddy, John James|
|Balcarres, Lord||Foil, Arthur||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fletcher, J. S.||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gardner, Ernest||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Gretton, John||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Stanier, Seville|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Jolcey-||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Starkey, John R.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Heaton, John Henniker||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Heimsley, Viscount||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Clark, George Smith||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Hill, Sir Clement||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Younger, George|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Remnant and Sir W. Bull.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||O'Grady, J.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gulland, John W.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Alden, Percy||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Hart-Davies, T.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Radford, G. H.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Haworth, Arthur A.||Rees, J. D.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Hedges, A. Paget||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Higham, John Sharp||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Hodgo, John||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Horniman, Emslie John||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Cameron, Robert||Idris, T. H. W.||Seely, Colonel|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jardine, Sir J.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Clough, William||Keating, M.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Latdlaw, Robert||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Verney, F. W.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Crossley, William J.||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Massle, J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Masterman, C. F. G.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Menzies, Sir Walter||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Micklem, Nathaniel||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Mooney, J. J.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Ginnell, L.||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Nicholls, George|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
§ Provision in Respect of s. 64 of The Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883.
§ "Notwithstanding anything in Section sixty-four of The Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, contained, a person registered as a Parliamentary 30 elector in any constituency, but debarred by the provision of this Act from voting in that constituency in any election, shall not be held to be an elector in that election and constituency within the meaning of that Act."
§ This is a small matter, and I do not know whether the Government will not meet me about it. Under Section 64 of the Corrupt 31 and Illegal Practices Prevention Act I find: "The expression 'elector' means any person whose name is for the time being on the register roll or book containing the names of the persons entitled to vote at the election with reference to which the expression is used." It is quite plain that under this Bill a large number of people will be on the roll who will not in fact be entitled to vote, and it would seem very anomalous if this Section of the Corrupt Practices Act should apply to them. If the corrupt man cannot vote no offence is committed, and unless something is done to meet the case to which I direct attention everyone whose name appears upon the roll, whether he is entitled to vote or not, will be an elector, and will come within the provision which I have read. I suggest that some such Amendment as I have put upon the Paper is necessary to prevent an unnecessarily severe proceeding against such people. I do not desire to say any more until I hear what the Government has to say in regard to this matter.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ Mr. HARCOURT
The Noble Lord will find that the situation which he presupposes in his new Clause cannot arise, because under the existing law as applied now what happens in the case of a duplicate Parliamentary vote of which a possessor is to be dispossessed in a particular constituency is this: He is not left on Division 1 for his Parliamentary vote, but he is transferred to Division 3, which is the parochial register. He keeps his municipal and parochial vote there, but he loses his Parliamentary vote. He, therefore, ceases to be on the Parliamentary register, which is the register the particulars of which have to be taken into consideration in fixing the maximum of the returning officer's costs or the scale of expenses allowed to a candidate. Therefore the Noble Lord will see that the transfer to Division 3, which will occur in the ordinary course, relieves the elector from all the dangers contemplated.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
If the right hon. Gentleman says so, I am sure he is right, as he knows the provisions of his Bill, and I admit I have not been able to give the matter as much time as I should have liked to, but can the right hon. Gentleman point 32 out to me the exact provision in his Bill which does not leave a man on the register merely starred, but which transfers him to the other division?
§ Mr. HARCOURT
It is not a provision under this Bill, but a provision of the existing law, which comes into operation the moment London becomes a municipal borough. It is precisely what occurs, say, for instance, in the borough of Marylebone. A person, say, has two qualifications, one for East and one for West Marylebone, and is not entitled to exercise the two votes. He selects to vote for East Marylebone, and, therefore, in West Marylebone he is put upon Division 3, where he may keep his parochial vote.
§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
As he is described as a Parliamentary elector there is something in the Noble Lord's contention. I think the Clause in the Bill would want some Amendment.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
No; he ceases to be a Parliamentary elector. The parochial list, Division 3, does not contain Parliamentary electors. It contains the names of other electors, including women.
§ Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Provision for Fresh Selection.
§ "Where a person has selected a constituency, and the name of such person is struck off the list of voters on revision for the qualification so selected, such person shall be at liberty to make a fresh selection which shall be transmitted to the special revising barrister."
§ The object of the Clause is quite plain, and the point it raises must, I think, occur to the Government, but I see no provision in the Bill for dealing with it. The proposal in the new Clause is a reasonable one. At any rate, I think it is quite clear that something ought to be done in the Bill to meet the case which it raises. It cannot be the object of the Bill to disfranchise persons altogether who may have a double or a treble claim under the existing law, merely because that person, having made a selection, is afterwards disqualified on the revision. I moved this Clause in order to give the Government an opportunity of considering the point raised, as it is a serious one and a practical one, and one which, if not, met, will certainly involve great hardship in London. I think the Government 33 ought to meet the point either by accepting this Clause or in some other way.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
Again I can relieve hon. Members' minds. This result will not happen under the Bill. The law will be in London precisely as it is in other parts of the country, where, if a man makes a selection, and, in doing so, selects a qualification which subsequently turns out to be invalid, the barrister who is revising the list will have marked his vote for the residence. The loss of one or many qualifications by an individual must occur in the ordinary Revising Barristers' Court, and all these courts will have concluded before the special revising barrister provided for under this Bill sets to work. If Jones has selected a business qualification, and now fails to justify that qualification before the revising barrister, there is no reason why he should have another shot at the selection. He is not going to be disfranchised. He will be registered for his residence and perhaps for other business qualifications. The revving barrister, under the existing law, which applies to other parts of the country, will allot him the vote for his residence. The only hardship will be that he has taken the sporting chance of selecting an obviously doubtful qualification, and, having failed to make it good, he will be compelled, for one year only, to vote for his residence.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Surely that is not a very complete answer. It is recognised that it is a desirable thing to give a man the right to select which qualification he will vote out of. It turns out that the qualification which he has selected is not a good one. Why should he not be allowed, then, to make another selection? I do not understand the objection raised by the Government to this point. They say that, at any rate, the man will be allowed to vote for the place where he lives, and that that ought to be sufficient. I am not quite so sure about that. Supposing the man has more than two qualifications, and does not reside at either of them? Would he be entitled to vote for any of his other qualifications? I do not know how the law stands if the man lives outside London. Suppose he has more than two qualifications inside London and selects one, and it turns out that he is not entitled to vote for that particular qualification—will he be entitled to vote for any of those other qualifications? Under these circumstances, 34 I do not think he would be able to vote in London at all. It does appear to me that the Government has not given any reason whatever why a man should not be allowed to make a fresh selection. The Government utterly refuse to recognise that by extending this provision to London they are creating a very different state of things, and it is not the state of things in any degree which prevails in the borough of Marylebone. A man may have two qualifications, one in East and one in West Marylebone, and he knows all about it. To him it is exceedingly easy to see that he gets the vote he is entitled to, but you may have cases divided by great stretches of country and a greater division of actual interest, and yet you are lumping them together as one Parliamentary entity, and you are introducing a state of things which does not exist in any other part of the country. The right hon. Gentleman has given no kind of answer to this Amendment.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
In the case of a voter resident outside London having several business qualifications in London, one of which he has selected and failed to prove, he will be able to vote. That case is provided for under the ordinary law, under which he can make a second selection. The revising barrister in that case is bound to allot him a vote, but if he has not made a selection or made it ineffectively, the revising barrister must settle which other qualification he has to exercise for that year by allotment. Under the present law a revising barrister in Manchester, under similar circumstances, has to allot the voter who has gone through that procedure to the list which he first revises. In this respect, under this Bill, we are following the general law in every particular.
§ Mr. CARLILE
The reply which the right hon. Gentleman has given is extremely unsatisfactory. We have been referred to the various lists from which a selection can be made, and a sort of parallel has been drawn between that and the position of the individual voter in the existing county of London. What is there in common between the two cases? The revising barrister has to select from a certain number of lists, and he must proceed to select under some principle. When it is a case of an individual voter who has a number of qualifications, why should he not have the right to decide where he shall exercise the franchise? If a man has two or three residences in this great new 35 county borough of London, which is to be constitute under this Bill, why should the revising barrister have to decide for which of those residences he has to vote? Surely if a man is struck off the list for one qualification on some technicality it is an unreasonable thing to say that the revising barrister should arbitrarily decide in what portion of this great area he is to exercise the franchise.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
The right hon. Gentleman seems persistently to ignore the fact that other boroughs where the ordinary law applies are altogether on a different basis. I do not suppose that there are more than a dozen people in Liverpool who have got two residences, and I do not think there are a dozen of these cases in Manchester; but it is a common thing in London. [HON. MEMBERS "Oh, oh!"] There are hon. Members of this House who have got two residences in London. There are a number of people who reside in the outlying portions of London, and who for convenience occupy flats in the neighbourhood of this House. The right hon. Gentleman has entirely ignored the distinctly different state of affairs which are peculiarly applicable to London. One is the case where a voter votes for a place outside London, where he lives, and has two business qualifications in London. That case is not provided for by the ordinary law. The other case is where a man has a business qualification, or, perhaps, two business qualifications, and also happens to have two residences, both in London. In both those cases the ordinary law gives no substantial relief, and the new Clause proposed by my hon. Friend is intended to meet that difficulty by giving a further selection to the man who has been so unfortunate as to be struck off the list for the particular division he has selected. It is not merely a case of taking a sporting chance. There are cases happening every day where a man's property changes hands. A man might turn his business concern into a limited company and lose his vote, and it might not occur to him that by so doing he would lose his qualification. Nevertheless the right hon. Gentleman treats this as a matter of no importance. I invite the hon. Gentleman to seriously look at the difficulties and hardships which this Bill is going to inflict, and I hope he will listen to the suggestion which has been made in good faith to give those men who will be subjected to these hardships a renewed right of selection. 36 Upon those grounds I think the Government ought to give a little more consideration to an important Amendment of this kind.
§ Mr. A HENDERSON
Much of the discussion so far has pre-supposed that the voter whose name has already appeared on the list, and who has made a selection, has not a second right of selection. As one who has had a good deal of experience in connection with revision courts, I would like to remind the House that the persons whose names have been entered upon the list cannot be removed without an objection. The list is published on 1st August, and the objection must be posted by 20th August. The revision courts do not sit until September, and some of them sit as late as October. Immediately the individual objected to finds that the qualification he has selected is doubtful, as a wise man he would immediately inform his agent that he has been objected to, and unless he was quite convinced that the objection was altogether groundless, he could then put in another selection which the revising barrister has full power to allot. This process obtains to-day all over the country under the existing law. I should have the greatest sympathy with this Amendment if there had not been provision already made whereby the individual objected to can make a second selection and have it considered by the ordinary revising barrister. The point is not a new one, and I venture to say that the agents of all parties are so alert on this point that there is very little danger of any gentleman with more than one qualification losing his vote because a proper selection has not been made.
§ Mr. STEWART BOWLES
I am not satisfied with the answer made by the Government, and I have not been relieved by the speech of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle. The hon. Member says there is really no hardship in this case, because a man who, having made his selection and afterwards finds that objection is taken, has ample time between 20th August and September or October to amend his claim and make another selection. That would afford a very easy method of wiping out or frightening off a great number of voters. All you would have to do, according to the hon. Gentleman, would be to find a number of persons who have more than one qualification, and enter formal objection to their selection to vote in your area, thereby putting them or their agent to the necessity of selecting another 37 place. That would be an undesirable thing. It would tend to create great uncertainty and difficulty. After ah, this is a matter of principle. The principle of the Bill is quite simple. It is that a man, however many qualifications he may have for votes in different parts of London, so long as they are all in London, can only exercise one vote, and he is to be allowed a free choice among his qualifications as to where he shall vote. That, I understand, is the plain and simple principle underlying the Bill. That is quite clearly destroyed by the machinery proposed by the Government, and we have had no answer given to the Amendment, except that it is the existing machinery in other parts of the country. London, however, is a very different place from Liverpool or Manchester. All the right hon. Gentleman says is that he does not see why this unhappy man who has, upon the invitation and under the scheme of the Bill, made a selection to vote, say, in Marylebone, should, if he is disqualified, have a second shot. If that is the attitude, why should he have a first shot? Why should he have a shot at all? If your principle is that a man is to be allowed to choose among his various qualifications, why should you limit him to one shot, supposing that shot has been made bonâ fide? If he is not to be allowed a second shot, the whole principle of freedom of choice entirely disappears, and you have a perfectly arbitrary and unreasoning method, automatically applied without appeal. If he has a residence in London, you force him, whether he likes it or not—and he may dislike it bitterly, and although he may already have expressed a desire to go somewhere else—to vote for his residence, and, if he has not a residence, then you are to decide where he is to vote, not by his desire, but by tossing up a halfpenny and by drawing lots. That is a machinery which I cannot think wise in itself, and it will clearly invite in many cases very great abuses in the practical administration of the law of electoral qualification. It certainly entirely defeats what I understand to be the whole principle of the Bill, which is that, while a man is only to have one vote in London, he is at any rate to be left the small liberty of choosing in respect of which of his various qualifications he will vote. I do not think the answer of the right hon. Gentleman can satisfy any impartial observer of the Debate, and I shall be inclined to press the matter to a Division.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I was rather astonished to hear the speech of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. A. Henderson). I understood the point of his speech was that, if a person was struck off the register and disqualified for the constituency for which he had selected to vote, then all he would have to do would be to be in the court—
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
I must correct the hon. Member. I did not say "if he was struck off." I said, "If he received an objection," which is entirely a different thing.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not see that it makes any difference at all. I will take a concrete instance. I happen to have a vote in the City of London and also in St. George's, Hanover Square. I select the City of London, and I have to look out for an objection. Having got one, I have to decide whether it is going to be made good. If I think it is, then I am to take off my selection from that particular place and put it on to some other place. I always thought that hon. Members below the Gangway held that the franchise should be conferred upon everybody with as little trouble and difficulty as possible. The whole of their speeches with regard to the franchise have always been that every man should be qualified, and that there should be no difficulty put in the way, but here is an hon. Member desirous of putting difficulties in everybody's way and of making the obtaining of a vote as difficult as possible. Then, he says, it is done in other parts of the country. I should have thought he would have endeavoured to alter the law in other parts of the country, so as to bring it into conformity with the law in London instead of altering the law in London, so as to bring it into conformity with the law in other parts of the country. I presume he alludes to Liverpool, Manchester, and places of that sort. They are quite different from London. Their population, I suppose, is between five and six hundred thousand, or probably seven hundred thousand London has a population of five millions. What is the good of talking of other parts of the country when there is not a single city comparable with London? The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Works is in charge of this Bill. What has the Franchise to do with the Office of Works? It is a marvel to me, and I should have thought the right hon. Gentleman would have been inclined to take advice from London 39 Members sitting on this side of the House, and would at any rate have allowed the enlightened voter of London the opportunity of choosing where he might vote. This is a striking commentary upon the desire of hon. Gentlemen opposite to confer the
§ vote upon the free and independent elector. They only want to confer it when he is a Radical.
§ Question put: "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 74; Noes, 140.41
|Division No. 800.]||AYES.||[4.40 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Forster, Henry William||Oddy, John James|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gardner, Ernest||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gretton, John||Percy, Earl|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmonds)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hamilton, Marquess of||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Carlile, E. Mildred||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Castlareagh, Viscount||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Heaton, John Henniker||Stanier, Beville|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Helmsley, Viscount||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Starkey, John R.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hill, Sir Clement||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Clark, George Smith||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||M'Arthur, Charles||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Younger, George|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Fell, Arthur||Moore, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Stewart Bowles and Sir W. Bull.|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Evans, Sir S. T.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Everett, R. Lacey||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Ferens, T. R.||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Alden, Percy||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Massie, J.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Fuller, John Michael F||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Ginnell, L.||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Gulland, John W.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nicholls, George|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hart-Davies, T.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Branch, James||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Grady, J.|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hedges, A. Paget||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes, Leigh)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Henry, Charles S.||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Higham, John Sharp||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hobart, Sir Robert||Radford, G. H.|
|Cameron, Robert||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hodge, John||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Horniman, Emslie John||Rees, J. D.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Idris, T. H. W.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|Clough, William||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Keating, M.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Collins, Sir Win. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Laidlaw, Robert||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lambert, George||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Sears, J. E.|
|Crossley, William J.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Seely, Colonel|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Levy, Sir Maurice||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)||Waterlow, D. S.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Steadman, W. C.||Watt, Henry A.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Weir, James Galloway||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Thorne, William (West Ham)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Waldron, Laurence Ambrose||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
§ Town Clerks to Warn Voters.
§ "The town clerk or other responsible officer shall annually in the month of July give, public notice, in a form to be prescribed by Order in Council, warning voters of the provisions of this Act, and such notice shall be published in accordance with the provisions of the Registration Act, 1843, Sections twenty-three and twenty-four, and the Registration Act, 1878, Section nine."
§ This Clause speaks for itself. It merely provides that in July of each year power shall be taken for the town clerk to issue notice to the voters to warn them of the provisions of this Act. No Amendment proposed from this side of the House is likely to be accepted by the right hon. Gentleman. We know he told us upstairs that the Bill was so beautifully drawn that it was not possible to add to it in any shape or form. The right hon. Gentleman talks of crowds of hon. Members having42
§ been present upstairs. As usual he very much exaggerated the facts. Although he tells us the Bill is so perfect, I venture to move this new Clause, but not with much hope that it will be accepted.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
The effect of this new Clause would only be to have notices affixed to the doors of the Town Hall and Post Office, and indeed it does not go so far as another Clause on the Paper which has yet to be moved. It would, however, place London in a different position to the rest of the country. No notice of this kind is exhibited in any town, and I am quite sure that those who have the conduct of electoral affairs will in the interests of their own parties take much more effective steps to secure the end aimed at than would follow from the mere posting of notices, as suggested. I, therefore, cannot accept the Clause.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 76; Noes, 145.43
|Division No. 801.]||AYES.||[4.55 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. P.||Forster, Henry William||Oddy, John James|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gardner, Ernest||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gretton, John||Percy, Earl|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hamilton, Marquess of||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Heaton, John Henniker||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Helmsley, Viscount||Stanier, Beville|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Hill, Sir Clement||Starkey, John R.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Clark, George Smith||Kimber, Sir Henry||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||M'Arthur, Charles||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Younger, George|
|Fell, Arthur||Moore, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Remnant and Mr. Claude Hay.|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Beck, A. Cecil|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)|
|Alden, Percy||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Bonn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Beauchamp, E.||Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Henry, Charles S.||Radford, G. H.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Raphael, Herbert H|
|Branch, James||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Higham, John Sharp||Rees, J. D.|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Hobart, Sir Robert||Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hodge, John||Robson, Sir Wm. Snowdon|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Horniman, Emslie John||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Idris, T. H. W.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Cameron, Robert||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Keating, M.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Kekewich, Sir George||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Clough, William||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Sears, J. E.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Laidlaw, Robert||Seely, Colonel|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lambert, George||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Lewis, John Herbert||Steadman, W. C.|
|Crossley, William J.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Mallet, Charles E.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Massie, J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Masterman, C. F. G.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Watt, Henry A.|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Micklem, Nathaniel||Weir, James Galloway|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Ginnell, L.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Nicholls, George||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Gulland, John W.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nolan, Joseph||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Hedges, A. Paget|
§ Relief in Cases of Personation.
§ "A court before whom a person is convicted in consequence of the provisions of this Act of the offence of personation or of an illegal practice may, if they think it just under the circumstances of the case, mitigate or entirely remit any incapacities imposed by Section six or Section ten of The Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, and if on application made it is shown to the High Court that any person has so acted without any intention of evading the provisions of this Act, the court shall have a similar power to grant relief as is contained in Section twenty-three of the said Act."
§ This Clause does not raise a question perhaps of very enormous importance, but at any rate with respect to personation it is of some importance. I do not press it as far as the illegal practices are concerned, because that is a very much smaller matter. I prefer to take it on the question of personation, and I do 44 think something should be done with reference to that. As I understand the law—I do not know whether I am right—the Solicitor-General will correct me if I am wrong—but as I understand the law, if a man has a duplicate qualification under this Bill, and votes for a place for which under it he is not entitled to vote, he is guilty of the offence of personation. That has always appeared to me to be a pretty severe penalty in an ordinary election. Personation properly explained is an offence into which fraud enters. The true idea of personation is, where a man knowing quite well that he is John Jones goes and votes as John Smith. That is a typical case of personation and involves deliberate deception, and cannot be done by any possibility unwittingly, or without a man knowing that he is committing a very serious offence. But there is the crime of constructive personation. A man having two places of business, one down in the south-east of London, say at Lewisham, and the other up in the extreme west, say at Hammersmith, there being no connection whatever between the 45 two places, which may not be even used for the same kind of business, votes in the place he is not entitled to. The qualification may be an entirely distinct one; he is in fact qualified by law at present to vote for both those boroughs, and under this Act, by lot, very likely without his being consulted and knowing nothing about it, he becomes entitled to vote for Hammersmith and is forbidden to vote for Lewisham. It may be that he has always voted for Lewisham, but if he records his vote in that borough he thereupon by that act, without any knowledge on his part at all, becomes guilty of the offence of personation, and is subject to very considerable penalties which are not dealt with under this Act. He is also disabled from exercising any public function and from voting at any election anywhere in the country for seven years, and no court can mitigate that punishment in the slightest degree. It may be that it is the merest breach of technicality that he is guilty of, and no one in the House will blame him in the least. Yet by the condition of the law as it is proposed to be enacted by this Bill he would be disabled from voting for seven years not only for Parliamentary purposes, but in an election for any public office within the meaning of the Act, and there is no possibility of getting him any relief by any means.
§ So far as the illegal practice is concerned, it is a more complicated matter, and the penalty is much less severe, and all I ask in this Clause is that the court should be entitled to mitigate that penalty if it thought fit, and if it turned out that the offence was entirely unwitting and in no sense criminal in the popular sense of that word, and that the man should be allowed to make an application under Section 23 of the Act of 1883, which is the relief Clause upon which this question turns. It is a pretty stiff Section which prevails even in regard to the minor offences under that Act, and it provides that if a man shows that an act or an omission should not be subjected to any of the consequences of the statute the court may make an order allowing such Act or omission to be an exception of the Act, which would otherwise be an illegal practice. That is to say if you can—and the hon. and learned Solicitor-General knows you have to make a pretty clear case under that Section—if you can come and show to the satisfaction of the court that the offence was as a matter of fact trivial and was committed by inadvertence, then you can get free from the penalty, and I do 46 submit to the Government that this is a case in which they really might meet the Opposition and accept some such Amendment as this. Of course, if the First Commissioner of Works (Mr. Harcourt) were here he would make the same reply as he has to all these matters. He would say this is the law already in regard to Manchester, Birmingham, and other provincial cities, and, therefore, it ought to be the law in regard to London; but really I think the House will see that that is pressing logic to an absurdity.
§ London is not the same as Manchester, and it really is grotesque and ridiculous to contend that for all these purposes you can use the example of Manchester and Birmingham and other places in comparison with London. In those cases the cities have grown because one centre of population has gradually expanded, but in London it is exactly the reverse, and you may have a dozen or more centres of population which have joined together. That makes a great distinction, not only in the quality, but in the life of the place, and it is perverse fatuity to pretend that there is any community of life between Hammersmith and Lewisham except for the coincidence that representatives of Lewisham and Hammersmith both sit upon the county council. There is no community of life, and the places are absolutely distinct in all their interests and in regard to all their funds. That does make a very real distinction in this case. The man who lives at Birmingham may well realise that he cannot vote for two divisions of Birmingham, and is, therefore, less liable to bring himself under this extreme penalty which is imposed for personation. Even, however, if there were any similarity between the cases of Birmingham and London, even if the analogy were true, I should still press the Amendment on the Government, because I do think the law is ridiculous as regards Birmingham or Manchester, or any of these other places. To say that a man is guilty under the circumstances I have mentioned seems to me to be absolute absurdity, and to debar him from exercising some of his civic rights for seven years for an offence of this kind is ludicrously in excess of the necessities of the case. It ought to be the general law that the court should have a general power to mitigate the severity of the penalty, and if it ought to be the general law a fortiori it ought to be the law in London, and for these reasons I move the Amendment.47
§ Mr. ROBERT DUNCAN
I beg to second the proposed new Clause. The argument we have heard has been based chiefly upon the complexity of life in London, and I think hon. Members opposite must recognise what a strong argument that is. Even in the newspapers we see that the London Scottish are trying to defeat the London Welsh, sometimes with success, and sometimes the London Irish are taking their part. Altogether, the life of a great Imperial city is necessarily a very complex one and represents very varied interests. These people have very different parts in their life. Scotchmen may have a factory in Bermondsey—Scotchmen have set up factories in Bermondsey—and they may have their interest there, and they may think that they ought to vote for Bermondsey as well as for Peebles. I think the Noble Lord has made out a good case, and I trust he will be successful.
§ The SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir Samuel Evans)
I think the Noble Lord did well to give up, as in effect he did, the second part of the new Clause, for, as I dare say he knows, in the case of the illegal practices which would be covered by the second part of the new Clause, the element of knowledge comes in under the Act of Parliament. In regard to the part of the new Clause dealing with personation, no one will deny that if personation is proved it is a very serious offence. An ordinary personation is, as the Noble Lord stated, a person whose name is Jones voting in the name of Smith, who may be alive or dead. A person who does that knowingly is guilty of a very serious criminal offence. There is, of course, the other case which the Noble Lord referred to of a man voting twice when he has perhaps no knowledge that he is committing an offence in law at all, but as to that portion of the new Clause it is quite unnecessary, as the Act of Parliament deals with imprisonment not exceeding a certain term and a penalty not exceeding a certain amount, so that there will be full power in the tribunal to deal with the matter.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The new Clause I propose only deals with the incapacities. It says nothing about the penalties of imprisonment or fine at all.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The Section of the Act of 1883, which deals with this question, makes it possible for the court to impose a penalty or a penalty and imprisonment, or either.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
With regard to the question of incapacity I am rather afraid to use the argument as to Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool after what the Noble Lord has said. Still, this is a general provision of the law, and I want to call the attention of the Noble Lord to the difficulty of making a mistake in this case after a selection has been made. After the selection has taken place a man's name will not appear in the list of Parliamentary electors for the other place for which he is qualified at all. His name only appears in Division No. 3, and as he must say when he comes to vote that he is a Parliamentary elector, it is almost impossible to have a bonâ fide mistake under the circumstances, and it only turns upon the question whether there is a bonâ fide mistake. There is a decision—I will not say whether it is good law or not—there is a decision which stands, and which says that if a mistake is committed bonâ fide the offence of personation is not committed. I will read to the Noble Lord the decision I refer to:—A voter being on the register in two divisions for the same borough voted in both divisions. On a scrutiny of the votes the court found us a fact that the voter had acted bonâ fide and held that the offence of personation had not been committed and hold that the first vote should stand, but intimated that the second vote was lost.I have not been able to refer to the case, but I should rather assume that the decision was upon the general grounds that you must have mens rea before you can be guilty of an offence of this kind. But there is another answer which still holds good, that where you have an offence against the electoral law it ought to be exactly on the same footing if it was committed in London as if it was committed in Manchester or Liverpool.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
There is a very good reason why it ought not to be the same in London as in the provinces. You are here in London taking away a right which has existed from immemorial time, and to the exercise of which the people have got accustomed by long practice. In other boroughs this opportunity of voting in different divisions never was more than an opportunity and has never been a right, and so far as it is merely an opportunity it is the creation solely of an entirely recent Statute. That is a profound difference between the two cases, which makes infinitely greater the proba- 49 bility of a mistake being made, and abundantly justifies my Noble Friend in moving the Clause.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 75; Noes, 160.