4 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 3

Since the introduction of manhood suffrage the practice of petitioning

the House of Commons has naturally tended to fall into desuetude. The electors no longer need to crave the intercession of an assembly in which all of them are represented. However, the petition can still be used as a form of demonstration, a fact which was illustrated on Wednesday, when Sir Archibald Sinclair presented the signatures of 804,000 persons aggrieved by the rising cost of living. The process of collecting so many names has brought the Liberal Opposition wider publicity than anything it has attempted for several years. It was almost impossible for Sir Herbert Samuel and his followers to put up an effective fight against food taxes in 1932, a year in which prices would have remained low no matter what fiscal expedients were adopted. Now, when prices are rising, it is conceivable that they may succeed in capitalising the resulting discontent.