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Bill 166 Second Reading

Volume 229: debated on Friday 26 May 1876

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Order for Second Reading read.

in moving, that the Bill be now read a second time, said: By 31 and 32 Vic., cap. 108, and cap. 102, it is lawful to divide burghs in Scotland having a population of 10,000 into wards for voting purposes. It has been for some time represented by the burgh of Wick that the limit of 10,000 is too high, and that it should be reduced to 7,000. I have caused inquiry to be made in all the Scotch burghs having a population above 7,000 and under 10,000, and the replies have been generally in favour of the change proposed by the burgh of Wick. The Acts above mentioned were passed in 1868, the year in which the franchise was lowered, and before the effect on the numbers of the constituency could be ascertained. The increase has now proved to be so considerable as, apart from other considerations, to render it expedient that separate voting places should be established within each burgh. Irrespective of the mere question of convenience of voting, it frequently happens that even in small burghs there exist different districts the owners and occupiers in which have somewhat conflicting interests to those in other districts, and the most effectual way of protecting the interests of all sections is by making it competent to divide the burgh into two or more wards. The right hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving the second reading.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday, 8th June.