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Want of property qualification admitted.
of Clare, in the room of Sir Bryan O'Loghlen, who, since
Mr. Southey, in 1826, elected for Downton, during his
It is a settled principle of parliamentary law, that a member, after he is duly chosen, cannot relinquish his seat;8
Hardinge, Governor-general of India,
1 133 C. J. 376. 415; 134 ib. 161;
• 82 C. J. 28.
• Ib. 108.
« 103 ib. 17.
» 8th Dec. 1847, 103 ib. 102.
• 1 C. J. 724; 2 ib. 201. In 1775,
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,1 which, though the offices have sometimes been refused,2 are ordinarily given by the treasury to'any member who applies for them,8 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. 687), 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 practice 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 1758. The office of escheator of Minister was abolished in 1898. The offices of steward of the manors of East Hendred and Hempholme were last used for this purpose in 1840 and 1865 respectively. See appendix No. 5 to Report of select committee on House of Commons (Vacating of Seats), Pari. Paper, No. 278 (sess. 1894), pp. 57. 58.
* See letter of Mr. Goulburn to Viscount Chelsea, Pari. Paper, 1842, (544); and see 3 Lord Dalling, Life of Lord Palmerston, 108. In 1775, Lord North refused to give one of these offices to Mr. Bayly, who de
sired to stand for Abingdon, in opposition 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 Pari. 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.
• 8 Pari. Deb. 4 s. 50; 103 ib. 212.
4 In answer to a question, Mr. Ooschen stated that during the years 18S2-1888, on nine occasions the office of the Chiltern Hundreds was granted during a parliamentary recess, 15th Feb. 1892, 1 Pari. Deb. 4 s. 46.
warrants of appointment grant them "together with all chapter wages, fees, allowances," &c, they assume the form of _____ places of profit. All words, however, which formerly attached honour to the appointment, are omitted, in order to remove any scandal in granting these offices to persons unworthy of the favour of the Crown, who may desire to vacate their seats in Parliament.1 Members Sir Fitzroy Kelly, solicitor-general, having been returned to be re. for Harwich on the 15th April, 1852, immediately afterelected. wards announced himself as a candidate for East Suffolk, the election for which county was appointed to be held on the 1st May. He had been returned for Harwich without Seeimttf opposition, yet on the 29th April a petition was lodged held. p.
against his return, in the hope of preventing the treasury from granting him the Ghiltern Hundreds. But as his seat was not claimed, he at once received the required appointment; and was returned for East Suffolk, and took his seat again, before a new writ had been issued for Harwich.3 Again, in February 1865, The O'Donoghue, being member for Tipperary, offered himself as a candidate for Tralee: but before the day of election, he qualified himself to be elected by accepting the Chiltern Hundreds.8 In 1878, Mr. Wingfield Malcolm, member for Boston, accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, in order to qualify himself as a candidate for the county of Argyll.4 Chiltern In the session of 1847-48, a member having had doubts fCcep"d by suggested whether he had not been disqualified at the time di«q_m*r of *"s election, as a contractor (see p. 81), thought it fied. prudent not to take his seat, in case of being sued for the penalties under the Act. He was, however, unwilling to admit his disqualification; and he accordingly applied for the Chiltern Hundreds. Doubts were raised as to the
1 The words, "reposing especial office of steward of her Majesty's
2 The entry in the votes is Suffolk, took the oaths and his
horough of Harwich, accepted the 1 183 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 questioning, by an election petition, the validity of his return, and as the house had no cognizance of his probable disqualification, there could be no objection to his accepting office, which solved all doubts, and at once obliged the house to issue a new writ.
In 1880, Mr. Dodson, elected at the general election in March for the city of Chester, afterwards accepted the office of president of the local government board, and was reelected without opposition. Meanwhile a petition had been lodged against his first election; and in July the election judges determined that his election was void, on the ground of bribery by his agents. It was generally held that, by virtue of the 17 & 18 Vict. c. 102, and the Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868, s. 46, he was thenceforth incapable of sitting for Chester in that Parliament. But as his second election had not been questioned, doubts were raised whether he had legally ceased to be a member, and was qualified to sit for another constituency. To remove all doubts upon this question, he accordingly accepted the Chiltern Hun dreds, and was elected for Scarborough.
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.2
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 Portion of offices under the Crown. And by the Reform Acts of 1867 cvm^atilc and 1868, members holding certain offices are not required j-f^ *** to vacate their seats on the acceptance of any other office there enumerated; and as this list comprises, or was intended
1 Baron L. de Rothschild, 27th 1857, 112 ib. 843.
to comprise, all the parliamentary offices under the Crown chapter which vacate the seats of members, it may now be stated xxm 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.1 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.2 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 80 & 81 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.3 By 29 & 80 Vict. c. 55, it was declared
1 30 & 31 Vict. c. 102, B. 52, and sch. H. The like clauses and schedules are also comprised in the Scotch and Irish Reform Acts of 1868.
J On the 28th Feb. 1868, a new writ was issued for Northamptonshire, in the room of Mr. Hunt, secretary to the treasury, on his acceptance of the office of chancellor of the exchequer. Again, Mr. Ayrton, secretary to the treasury, vacated' his seat in 1869, on accepting the office of first commissioner of works. Mr. Stansfeld having been a commissioner of the treasury in 1868, was afterwards appointed secretary to the treasury, and in March, 1871, having accepted the office of commissioner for the relief of the poor, it became a question whether his seat was again vacated. A writ had been issued on his acceptance of one office in the schedule, and now he bad accepted another; but the words of the Act
are, "where a person has been
1 For similar provisions in later