Oral Answers to Questions — Electoral Register

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd November 1949.

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Photo of Commander Sir Douglas Marshall Commander Sir Douglas Marshall , Bodmin 12:00 am, 3rd November 1949

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that, in the Spring Register of Electors for 1950, persons inserting their names are asked to insert their forenames instead of Christian names; and what is the reason for this change of procedure.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

In the forms relating to the 1949 Register (as in those in use before the war) the expression used was "other names." Some people took this to mean the names of persons other than themselves. To remove this misunderstanding, "forenames" was substituted. The expression "Christian names" is not used because of its restricted connotation, since not all forenames are Christian names.

Mr. Wilson Harris:

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the present numbers of male and female parliamentary electors, respectively.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on Monday to a Question by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, North (Mr. Peake).

Mr. Wilson Harris:

Does that mean that there are at present no separate figures for male and female electors?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

It is difficult at this short notice since the publication of the register to get a list distinguishing by sexes because there has been a growing practice in recent years for names to be given to individuals which do not indicate the sex of the holders.

Photo of Mr Osbert Peake Mr Osbert Peake , Leeds North

How are we then to conduct our election campaigns properly if we do not know the proportion of women electors to whom we are addressing ourselves?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

I should think the best thing to do is to conduct the campaign on the basis of a common citizenship.

Mr. Wilson Harris:

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that the practice of dividing the list into these two categories has been abandoned?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

The list is not divided into two categories.

Mr. Wilson Harris:

It was.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

There was a time when certain letters were used which indicated whether the person was male or female. I do not think that practice now exists.