17 MARCH 1866, Page 1

The provisions of the Bill are simple. It is only

a franchise Bill, Mr. Gladstone asserting that a redistribution of seats would have prolonged the discussion beyond any chance of passing it this session, but telling the House (amidst derisive laughter) that they would be quite competent to consider the redistribution Bill without a fresh dissolution, even though the franchise Bill should be passed and new constituencies created. The county franchise proposed is 14/.2 and the Government offer to extend the county rights of 40s. freeholders in boroughs to copyholders and leaseholders of equal value, but the clause to this effect promised by Mr. Glad- stone seems to be missing in the Bill. A savings' bank deposit of 501. continued for two years is to qualify any one not otherwise qualified to vote for the place, whether county or borough, within which he resides. The 101. borough occupancy qualification is to be reduced to 71., and all the enactments requiring voters to have paid their lodal rates or Government taxes are to be repealed. Joint occupiers of houses are to vote if they pay as much as 101. clear annually each for their premises, without regard to furni- ture or attendance. Mr. Gladstone calculates that these measures will add 204,000 persons of the " working class " to the borough constituencies, making with the present 126,000 of that class 830,000 in 'all of working-class borough voters. The total addi- tion to the borough constituencies will be about 360,000, and the total addition to the county constituencies about 171,000, making altogether 850,000 borough voters, of whom 330,000 are working- class persons and 680,000 county voters, in all perhaps about 1,500,000 electors.