(1) Where it appears to the Secretary of State that by reason of special circumstances affecting any local authority within the meaning of the Local Government Act, 1933, or the London Government Act, 1939, the provisions of Sections four and five of this Act are, in relation to that authority or some part of the members thereof, either inapplicable or in- adequate without some addition or modification, he may by order make such provision as appears to him to accord with the principles of those Sections and to be necessary or expedient, in consequence of the passing of the Local Elections and Register of Electors (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1939, and the Acts amending and continuing that Act and of the repeal of those Acts by this Act, for the purpose of securing that the authority shall be, and be deemed always to have been, duly constituted.
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
We have now left the Clauses which deal with postal voting, and this new Clause has to deal with one point with regard to the local government elections. As I explained very shortly, in relation to the anticipatory Amendment to this Clause, a number of different situations have arisen with regard to boroughs. In some cases, they have had a special election for extra councillors. In other cases, they have only held their Charter election, and in still further cases, they have not yet held their Charter election. In other cases, there are alterations of boundaries which have either just been made or are pending. The result is that Clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill will not work without alteration or modification in certain cases, and this Clause empowers the Secretary of State to make an Order in accordance with the principle of these Clauses to deal with the situation consequent on the existence and repeal of the Local Elections Act, 1939, and to secure that the local authority in question is and always has been clearly and properly constituted. That is the gist of Sub-section (1) of the Clause.
Under Sub-section (2) the Secretary of State is empowered to secure an election in every case and the other Sub-sections contain certain consequential and necessary provisions. The Committee will observe that as we are dealing with strictly transitional problems arising out of the present situation there is the general power under Sub-section (4) that the Order will have effect notwithstanding the statutory provisions. That is a power which is only used in transitional matters like the present and it will be seen that it is subject to Parliamentary control, because it has to be laid under Sub-section (5) and is subject to a negative Resolution under Sub-section (6). The effect of the new Clause will be that whatever be the private difficulty of each class of boroughs or each borough, it will be able to have its election and its constitution will be preserved.