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Parliament—Controverted Elec-Tions—English And Irish Judgments—Question

Volume 220: debated on Thursday 25 June 1874

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asked Mr. Attorney General, If his attention has been called to the difference in the interpretation of the Election Laws, in regard to the seating of minority candidates, between the English and the Irish Courts of Common Pleas, as shown by the late decision in the Launceston case and the decision in the County Galway Petition of 1872; and, if the Government intend to introduce a declaratory measure which would render the future working of the Law on this point uniform in the two countries?

Sir, the hon. and gallant Member, in the Questions which he has put to me, has assumed that the Court of Common Pleas in England has given an interpretation to the Election Laws, so far as they affect the seating of minority candidates, different from the interpretation given to the same Laws by the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland. This may, or may not, be the case. The House is in possession of the reasons assigned by the Judges of the Irish Court for the decision arrived at by them in 1872, with respect to the Galway County Election; but the House is not in possession of the reasons assigned by the Judges of the English Court for their decision on Tuesday in the Launceston case. An Order was made yesterday, and I believe at the instance of the hon. and gallant Member, that a Copy of the Judgment of the English Judges should be laid upon the Table of the House. I am not myself in possession of any further information on the subject than is possessed by other hon. Members. When the House is in possession of that further information which has been so ordered to be afforded to us, we shall be in a position to determine whether any difference exists between the views entertained by the two Courts, and, if there is any difference, what is its nature and extent. Under these circumstances, the hon. and gallant Member will, I think, see that I am unable at present to give any further answer to his Questions.