Oral Answers to Questions — Local Elections.

– in the House of Commons on 23rd July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

asked the Home Secretary whether he will take steps to restore to local government electors the right to fill casual vacancies on local councils by election?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I know of no sufficient reason in present circumstances for reversing the decision taken by Parliament and embodied in the Local Elections (Temporary Provisions) Acts of 1939, 1940 and 1941.

Photo of Mr Daniel Lipson Mr Daniel Lipson , Cheltenham

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the new responsibilities which have been put on local authorities as a result of the war make it necessary that the electors should have some control over administration, and will he not give the matter further consideration?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I hardly think that new responsibilities are a good reason. Frankly, as one experienced in municipal elections, it is not too easy to see how the issues would shape themselves in wartime conditions, and I do not think it would be worth while, in view of all the other claims on people's energies, that we should precipitate these elections.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Will my right hon. Friend convey to the local authorities that they should give a broader interpretation in selecting persons to fill vacancies, and not take completely narrow party lines?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

It was an understanding in the House when the legislation went through that the party representation should not be prejudiced. The only trouble I get is from local authorities who try to take what they call a broad line, which sometimes seems to be rather a crooked one.