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HOUSE OF COMMONS.—MARCH 8. TRS SERVICE FRANCHISE. Sir J.B. Maple moved the second reading of the Service Franchise Bill, the object of which is to restore the service franchise to persons occupying cubicles by virtue of any office or employment, not- withstanding any restrictions or conditions imposed on their occupation. The hon. member reminded bhe House that for 10 years after the passing of the Representation of the People Act, 1884, the men whom this bill would enfranchise were allowed 00 vote; but this privilege was taken from them by the decision in the case of Clutterbuck v. Taylor." He desired to restore the condition of things existing before that decision. If the bill passed, a large number of meritorious persons, Solicemen, shop assistants, warders, stablemen, gar- eners, and others, would regain the franchise of which they had been deprived. Sir C. Dilke, in an amendment, asked the House to refuse to add to the complexity of our present fran- hise system by passing this bill and to affirm that ihis complexity could be remedied only by the adop- tion of a single, simple, and uniform franchise. Captain Norton seconded the amendment, which bad the support of Mr. R. Wallace (Perth), Mr. Dillon, and other members, while Mr. Marks, Cap- ain Jessel, Mr. Lucas-Shadwell, Mr. Ashcroft, and lir. W. Moore were among the Unionists who 1 lelivered speeches in favour of the measure. 1 The Solicitor-General thought the House would lo well to read the bill a second time, for it was 1 lot an unimportant bill, and it would restore to a lumber of people a privilege which they at one < iime enjoyed. It was estimated that in London < done 1,100 policemen had been deprived of the lervice franchise by the decision of the Court of I ippeal in the case of "Clutterbuck v. Taylor." < imong the objections which had been raised by 1 she opponents of the measure was the allegation < ;hat employers would be able to break the period 5f continuous occupation, qualifying for this franchise, and that this power would facilitate 1 Taudulent practices. That argument, however, 1 lid not apply specially ta this bill, hut to the J irhole of the service franchise. He was not mpressed by the fears entertained by some ] members that the bill would be taken advantage of for the purpose of creating fagot votes. He failed to understand why for the purposes of tire service franchise a distinction should be drawn between apartments with partitions going up to the ceiling and apartments with partitions which did nftt quite reach the ceiling. The fact that this bill would not redress all the anomalies of our electoral law was not a good reason for rejecting it; as some members appeared to think. The amendment was negatived by 188 votes to 88, and The bill was read a second time. RIVERS POLLUTION. Sir F. Powell moved the second reading of the Rivers Pollution Prevention Bill, of which the chief object is to improve the law for preventing the pollu- tion of streams by extending to County Councils, Joint Committees, and River Boards in England the powers conferred by the Mersey and Irwell Act of 1892 and the West Riding of Yorkshire Rivers Act of 1894. Mr. Kenyon was surprised that the consideration of the bill had not been deferred, having regard to the fact that the subject of sewage disposal was being inquired into by a Royal Commission. Holding that the bill contained several very objectionable pro- visons, and that it would impose heavy pecuniary burdens upon localities and individuals, he moved its rejection. Mr. Cawley approved the proposed legislation, but thought it should be less drastic, and Sir W. Foster trusted that the measure would be favourably received by the Government. Mr. Chaplain said he would not oppose the second reading on the understanding that the bill would be sent to a Select Committee. Mr. Jackson held that this was much too im- portant a measure to be dealt with in the last hour of a Wednesday sitting, and he had not concluded his observations when the hour was reached for adjourning the debate.


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