Bedford

Oral Answers to Questions — Electoral Registration – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th December 1949.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge , Bedford 12:00 am, 15th December 1949

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that, in connection with the electoral register now being compiled in Bedford and elsewhere, private persons are purporting without authority to be official checkers in the employ of the registration officer; and if he will use his powers under Section 66 (1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1948, to issue directions to the registration officer to make such arrangements as will prevent the continuation of these activities.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

I have no information about these alleged activities, but in any event I could not usefully issue directions to the registration officer about the activities of persons not under his control.

Photo of Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge , Bedford

Will my right hon. Friend say something about the right of entry into the homes of electors of official checkers? Is it not wholly irregular that Tory canvassers in some constituencies should be collecting forms in bulk and sending them to the electoral registration officer?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

The official canvasser on behalf of the registration officer has no right of entry by virtue of his position. I think that it is undesirable that a person other than the householder concerned should collect the forms on the pretext that he is going to post them, because he might forget.

Photo of Mr Cyril Dumpleton Mr Cyril Dumpleton , St Albans

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a complaint of a similar occurrence to that mentioned in the Question has been made to me from my constituency and that, upon inquiry, I was informed that the canvasser in question was a representative from the Conservative Central Office? Has my. right hon. Friend any influence to ensure that Tory canvassers really look like Tories?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

I understand that the best canvasser is the person who looks as if he belongs to the other side.

Photo of Mr William Shepherd Mr William Shepherd , Bucklow

Is the Secretary of State aware that if his hon. Friend succeeded in stopping all the Conservative canvassers in his division, he would still lose his seat?

Photo of Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge , Bedford

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the fact that I am going greatly to increase my majority?