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of Clare, in the room of Sir Bryan O’Loghlen, who, since Chapter
Sir Bryan O'Loghlen had vacated his seat.” 1
absence on the Continent, addressed a letter to the Speaker, tion ad- in which he stated that he had not the qualification of estate mitted.
then required by law (see p. 28). The house waited
election petitions, and then issued a new writ for the Disqualifi- borough. In like manner, Mr. Cowan, member for Edincation ad- burgh, addressed a letter to the Speaker, 25th November,
1847,4 stating that at the time of his election he had been
cation of by Mr. Ramsay, member for the Falkirk Burghs, on condiscovering that he held a small share in a contract with tractors,
W e see p. 31; the post-office. On the 24th June, 1880, a new writ bankrupts,
see p. 32; was issued for Buteshire in the room of Thomas Russell, an un. Esq., who, having entered into a contract for the public member service, at the time of his election, was incapable of being elected.?
house, see Chiltern It is a settled principle of parliamentary law, that a "
member, after he is duly chosen, cannot relinquish his seat;8
who has su in the
Hardinge, Governor-generalof India, 1844 ; Sir H. Barkly, Governor of British Guiana, 1849; Sir John Young, Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, 1855 ; Mr. Grant Duff, Governor of Madras, 1881, &c.
1 133 C. J. 376. 415; 134 ib. 161; 245 H. D. 3 s. 1104.
2 82 C. J. 28.
3 Ib. 108. 4 103 ib. 17. s 8th Dec. 1847, 103 ib. 102. 6 19th March, 1874, 129 ib. 12. ? 253 H. D. 3 s. 727. 81 C. J. 724 ; 2 ib. 201. In 1775, Mr. George Grenville moved for a bill to enable members to vacate their seats, 18 Parl. Hist. 411.
Chapter and, in ord
and, in order to evade this restriction, a member who wishes to retire, accepts office under the Crown, which legally vacates his seat, and obliges the house to order a new writ. The offices usually selected for this purpose are the offices of steward or bailiff of his Majesty's three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough, and Bonenham; or the steward of the manor of Northstead," which, though the offices have sometimes been refused, are ordinarily given by the treasury to any member who applies for them, unless there appears to be sufficient ground for withholding them. The office is retained until the appointment is revoked to make way for the appointment of another holder thereof. These offices can be granted during a recess : 4 but the statutory power conferred on the Speaker, for the issue of a writ to fill up a vacancy caused by acceptance of office (see p. 637), does not extend to vacancies caused by the acceptance of these stewardships. The acceptance of any of these offices, however, at once vacates the seat of a member, and qualifies him to be elected, elsewhere, although no new writ can be issued for the place which has become vacant by his acceptance of office.
These offices, indeed, are merely nominal: but as the
1 According to Hatsell, this prac. tice began about the year 1750. The first instance was that of Mr. John Pitt, on the 17th Jan. 1750, and the next that of Mr. Henry Vane, M.P. for Downton in 1753. The office of escheator of Munster was abolished in 1838. The offices of steward of the manors of East Hendred and Hempholme were last used for this purpose in 1840 and 1865 respec. tively. See appendix No.5 to Report of select committee on House of Commons (Vacating of Seats), Parl. Paper, No. 278 (sess. 1894), pp. 57. 58.
See letter of Mr. Goulburn to Viscount Chelsea, Parl. Paper, 1842, (544); and see 3 Lord Dalling, Life of Lord Palmerston, 103. In 1775, Lord North refused to give one of these offices to Mr. Bayly, who de
sired to stand for Abingdon, in oppo. sition to a ministerial candidate, saying, “I have made it my constant rule to resist every application of that kind, when any gentleman entitled to my friendship would have been prejudiced by my compliance," 18 Parl, Hist. 418, n. “The office of steward of the Chiltern Hundreds is an appointment under the hand and seal of the chancellor of the exchequer,” Lord Colchester's Diary, 175.
38 Parl, Deb. 4 s. 50; 103 ib. 212.
• In answer to a question, Mr. Goschen stated that during the years 1882–1888, on nine occasions the office of the Chiltern Hundreds was granted during a parliamentary recess, 15th Feb. 1892, 1 Parl. Deb. 4 s. 46.
warrants of appointment grant them “ together with all Chapter
vacate their seats in Parliament.
wards announced himself as a candidate for East Suffolk,
candidate for the county of Argyll.
penalties under the Act. He was, however, unwilling to
"The words, “ reposing especial trust and confidence in the care and fidelity of,” &c., were first omitted in the year 1861.
2 The entry in the votes is as follows: “Sir Fitzroy Kelly having, since his return for the borough of Harwich, accepted the
office of steward of her Majesty's
133 ib. 402.
Chapter propriety of allowing him to vacate his seat by this method :
but it was agreed that, as the time had expired for question-
In 1880, Mr. Dodson, elected at the general election in
Unsworn members can avail themselves of these offices ; 1 and when Mr. Bradlaugh voted, on the 11th February, 1884, being an unsworn member (see p. 167), the office of the Chiltern Hundreds was granted to him, whereon the new writ was issued to supply the vacancy which by his conduct had taken place.?
If one of his Majesty's principal secretaries of state should When seats be transferred from one department to another, his seat is cated. not vacated, as there is no such division of departments in
the office of secretary of state as to render them distinct Position of offices under the Crown. And by the Reform Acts of 1867 holders of cumulative and 1868, members holding certain offices are not required offices, see to vacate their seats on the acceptance of any other office
there enumerated; and as this list comprises, or was intended
i Baron L. de Rothschild, 27th June, 1849, 104 C. J. 430 ; 23rd July,
1857, 112 ib. 343.
2 12th Feb. 1884, 139 ib. 46.
to comprise, all the parliamentary offices under the Crown Chapter which vacate the seats of members, it may now be stated generally that any member who has already vacated his seat on the acceptance of one of these offices, is not required to vacate it, on the immediate acceptance of another. But if he has held an office which did not vacate his seat, a new writ is issued on his acceptance of another office, by which his seat is vacated by law. The resumption of an office which has been resigned, but to which no successor has been appointed, does not vacate a seat. As the secretaries of the treasury, the several under secretaries of state, and the secretary to the admiralty, are by 15 Geo. II. c. 22, qualified to sit in Parliament, their seats are not vacated; and in like manner, the 30 & 31 Vict. c. 72 enacted that the office of parliamentary secretary to the board of trade, which was substituted for the vice-presidentship of the board of trade, shall not render the person holding it incapable of being elected, or of sitting or voting as a member, or vacate his seat if returned. By 29 & 30 Vict. c. 55, it was declared
1 30 & 31 Vict. c. 102, s. 52, and sch. H. The like clauses and schedules are also comprised in the Scotch and Irish Reform Acts of 1868.
2 On the 28th Feb. 1868, a new
are, “where a person has been
3 For similar provisions in later