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Parliament—New Writ For Ber-Wick-Upon-Tweed

Volume 253: debated on Thursday 8 July 1880

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Order [6th July] read, for the issue of a New Writ for Berwick-upon-Tweed.

said, that owing to an unexpected delay the ne- cessary formalities had not been gone through in connection with the transference of one of the hon. Members for Berwick (Mr. Strutt) to the Upper House, in succession to Lord Belper. The Writ which had been moved for that borough had, therefore, been prematurely issued. He accordingly moved—

"That Mr. Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown to make out a supersedeas to the said Writ for the Election of a Member to serve, in the present Parliament, for the Town of Berwick-upon-Tweed."

said, the noble Lord would not be surprised if the House expected some explanation of his extraordinary, if not unprecedented, Motion. The seat became vacant only last week, and the Writ was moved for on Tuesday; but it now appeared that at that time the seat was not legally vacant. He wished to ask whether the usual steps were taken to ascertain whether a vacancy really existed; and what it was that influenced the noble Lord in moving for the Writ in such unusual haste? It was just possible that, in a town like Berwick-on-Tweed, it might be important to a party to have the election over with great speed. He was not going to make such a statement; but, at the same time, he would point out that various constructions might be put on the action of the noble Lord. At all events, the House ought to have some further information on the subject.

said, that the facts were very simple. He had moved for the Writ a little too hastily, as he understood that when a vacancy occurred by the death of a Peer his eldest son immediately thereupon became ipso facto a Peer. He was not aware that certain formalities had to be gone through; and, if there had not been unexpected delay in this case, those formalities, which were very simple, would have been observed, and there would have been no occasion to move for the Writ of Supersedeas. He trusted that this explanation would be satisfactory.

Motion agreed to.