18 DECEMBER 1886, Page 2

Mr. Walter Long, Secretary to the Local Government Board, delivered

on Wednesday an important speech at Melksham, Wiltshire. He was able to say, without revealing secrets, that the Government had prepared a measure for local government which would probably be the most important Bill of the Session. The system adopted would be representative, but representative of all interests connected with the land. The powers of the new bodies would be very great,—though they will not include the right to establish "local option;"—and there would be a reform in the incidence of local taxation. The Government had dealt with the question of allotments, and, as he considered, satisfactorily, the total result being that allotments will be as numerous everywhere as they are in Wiltshire, where the people are well provided with them; but the "Government were not going to redress grievances by putting their hands wholesale into rate- payers' pockets, and thus providing land to be let or sold upon loss terms." Mr. Long was especially earnest about the large- ness of the powers to be committed to the local Councils, and altogether there seems no doubt that the Bill will be a big one. Unfortunately, as we have explained elsewhere, the Government are believed to have yielded too much to pressure from the county gentry, and to have introduced into the Councils the principle either of nomination or of ex-officio sittings.