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Chapter that the office of postmaster-general should not he deemed imL a new office, disqualifying the holder from being elected, or sitting and voting as a member of the House of Commons: bat that any member accepting the office, though eligible for re-election, should vacate his seat.1
By the 22 Geo. III. c. 82, not more than two principal Undersecretaries of state could sit in the House of Commons; and 0f state, not more than one under-secretary to each department would appear to have been admissible to the House of Commons under the 15 Geo. II. c. 22, s. 8; and as doubts were entertained whether more than two under-secretaries could sit there, in practice there were, until 1855, only two undersecretaries who held seats in that house at the same time.2 But on the establishment of the secretary of state for war in 1855, an Act was passed to enable a third principal secretary, and a third under-secretary, to sit in the House of Commons; and again, in 1858, by the 21 & 22 Vict. c. 106, on the appointment of a fifth secretary of state for India, it was provided that four principal and four under-secretaries may sit as members of the House of Commons at the same time. In 1864, notice was taken that five under-secretaries had been sitting in the house, in violation of the latter Act, and a motion was made that the seat of the fifth under-secretary had been vacated. The house, however, referred the question to a committee, who reported that the seat of the undersecretary last appointed was not vacated.8 At the same time, as the law had been inadvertently infringed, it was thought necessary to pass a bill of indemnity. An Act, 27 & 28 Vict c 84, was also passed, providing that in future, if, when there are four under-secretaries in the house, another member accepts the office of under-secretary, his seat shall be vacated, and he shall not be re-eligible while four other under-secretaries continue to sit in the house. If
1 For similar provisions in later s. 8 (1) (president of the board of
statutes see 84 & 85 Vict. c. 70, s. 4 education). See also amendment
(president of the local government of 7 Geo. IV. c. 82 (president of
board); 48 <fe 49 Vict. c. 61, s. 8 board of trade) by 51 & 52 Viot. c.
(secretary for Scotland); 52 & 58 57.
Vict. c. 80, s. 8 (president of board • 2 Hatsell, 63, n.
of agriculture); 62 & 63 Vict. c. 83, « 174 H. D. 8 s. 1218. 1231, &c.
First lord of the treasury, and chaucellor of the exchequer.
five secretaries or under-secretaries are returned at a general
The Act of Anne has, in some cases, been held not to
After the Eevolution of 1688, the office of lord high treasurer being executed by commissioners, it was customary for the first commissioner (or lord) of the treasury to hold also the office of chancellor of the exchequer. Among other examples may be mentioned that of Sir E. Walpole in 1716, and again from 1721 to 1741; of Mr. Pitt from 1783 to 1801, and again in 1804 until his death; of Mr. Canning in 1827, and Sir Eobert Peel in 1834. But as the two offices were generally accepted at the same time, no question arose as to the vacation of the seat. In 1770, however, Lord North, being then chancellor of the exchequer, accepted also the office of first lord of the treasury. On that occasion, no new writ was moved, nor was any doubt expressed as to the legal effect of the acceptance of this second office. Again, in October, 1809, Mr. Spencer Perceval, while chancellor of the exchequer, succeeded the Duke of Portland as first lord of the treasury, but retained his former office. Doubts were expressed by Lord Eedesdale, whether he had not vacated his seat: but Lord Chancellor Eldon and Mr. Speaker Abbot agreed that he had not; and no new writ was issued.8 In August, 1873, Mr. Gladstone, already first
1 2 Hatsell, 47.
* 2 Lord Colohester's Diary, 214. See offices 215. Lord Eldon wrote, 25th Deo. without 1809, "I think Mr. P.'s seat is not P 650 vo^ ky any accePtance of any office
of profit ainoe his election. The Act
Chapter lord of the treasury, further assumed the office of chancellor
sequences of this proceeding: but as Parliament was dis-
By the 6 Anne, c. 41, s. 27, the receipt of a new or other New army
com ma ads.
June, 1788, General Wade having accepted the office of
person accepts an office of profit his
"I think with you," wrote the
1 Lord Selborne's Memorials (Part 2), i. 326.
!" The receipt of any new commission in the army or navy, unless within this exception, disqualifies under sec. 24," Rogers on Elections part ii. p. 16 (17th ed., revised 1900).
'2 Hatsell, 45, n.
* 22nd June, 1742, 24 C. J. 284.
5 General Carpenter, Governor of
• 22 ib. 201.
7 38 & 89 Vict. c. 69.
considered to be re-eligible.1 By 22 & 23 Vict. c. 5, it was chapter Pension- declared that persons holding diplomatic pensions were not holders, diequalified from being elected or sitting and voting in the House of Commons. And by 82 & 83 Vict. c. 15, pensions, &c, for civil services, under the Superannuation Acts, do not disqualify the holder from being elected, or sitting or voting, as a member of the House of Commons. A recorder is eligible to serve in Parliament except for the borough of which he is recorder.2 Offices In January, 1821, Mr. Bathurst held temporarily the salary?' presidentship of the board of control, without its emoluments, in connection with another cabinet office then held by him; and under those circumstances did not vacate his seat;8 and the holder of a new office, created in 1887, of parliamentary under-secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, did not come within the scope of 41 Geo. III. c. 52 (see p. 640), because no salary or profit attached to the office.4
Petitioning At one time it was doubted whether a candidate claiming eligible, a seat in Parliament by petition, was eligible for another place before the determination of his claim: but it was resolved, on the 16th April, 1728, "that a person petitioning, and thereby claiming a seat for one place, is capable of being elected and returned, pending such petition."8 In case the petitioner should, after his election, establish his claim to the disputed seat, the proper course would appear
1 2 Hatsell, 22. 54; 106 C. J. 12 (Dungarvan writ).
2 3 & 4 Vict. o. 108, s. 66; 45 &46 Vict. c. 50, s. 163. New writs issued on acceptance of office, 125 C. J. 412 ; 148 ib. 892. 615; 150 ib. 3.
3 8 Lord Sidmouth's Life, 339.
1 15th and 28th April, 1887, 313 H. D. 3 s. 888. 1003; see also n. 1 p. 648. In 1881 and 1906 new writs were issued in the cases of Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Air. Fuller, who had accepted lordships of the treasury, without salary. A new writ was not issued in the case of a member, who having accepted a
lordship of the treasury without
• 21 0. J. 135; 2 Hatsell, 73. It
Chapter to be to allow him to make his election for which place he 1_ would serve, in the same manner as if he had been returned
Members returned for two piaccs, see p. 652.
for both places at a general election.1
Whenever any question is raised, affecting the seat of a member, and involving matters of doubt, either in law or fact, it is customary to refer it to the consideration of a committee.2
Before the year 1770, controverted elections were tried and determined by the whole House of Commons, as mere party questions, upon which the strength of contending factions might be tested.3
In order to prevent so notorious a perversion of justice, the house consented to submit the exercise of its privilege to a tribunal constituted by law, which, though composed of its own members, should be appointed so as to secure impartiality, and the administration of justice according to the laws of the land, and under the sanction of oaths. The principle of the Grenville Act, and of others which were passed at different times since 1770, was the selection by lot of committees for the trial of election petitions. Partiality and incompetence were, however, generally complained of in the constitution of committees appointed in this manner; and in 1839, an Act was passed establishing a new system, upon different principles, increasing the responsibility of individual members, and leaving but little to the operation of chance.
This principle was maintained, with partial alterations of the means by which it was carried out, until 1868, when the jurisdiction of the house, in the trial of controverted
Questions affecting the seat of members.
Trial of controverted election.
Constitution of committees unJer the Grenville Act.
1 This point was considered in 1849, when such a case seemed likely to occur; hut there have been no precedents.
* Case of Mr. Wynn (Stewardship of Denbigh), 94 C. J. 58; of Mr. Whittle Harvey, registered hackney carriages, ib. 29; of Mr. Hawes (see p. 170); of Baron Rothschild, as a government contractor (see p. 82); of Sir B. O'Loghlen (see p. 64J); of succession to a peerage (Earldom of Sel
borne) (see p. 633, n.); of the holding
'E.g. Sir Robert Walpole's resig-