Does the right hon. Gentleman remember what he said on Tuesday night, when he held out hope that this matter would be put right? Would he bear in mind the absurdity in the present law whereby if one goes to prison in one's own borough one has no vote, while if one goes to prison outside one's borough one has a vote?
I have had this matter reviewed, but I am not satisfied that any advantages that perforating instruments may have over embossing instruments are sufficient to justify the expense of substituting the former for the latter.
Can the right hon. Gentleman form any estimate of the expense? If so, how much would it be? Does the right hon. Gentleman recollect how many votes were spoiled at the last election through the embossed stamp not appearing on the voting paper?
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has considered the proposal that a reminder be sent to householders and others who do not complete electoral registration form A, warning them that a fine may be imposed for failure to complete the form; and what conclusion he has reached.
Yes, Sir. I have had a form of reminder printed on the lines suggested in the Question, and instructions on using it will be included in a circular to electoral registration officers.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department's electoral committee has now arrived at any conclusion with regard to the proposal to re-open the electoral register for a limited period to allow late application for registration by persons qualified for inclusion on the present register but inadvertently omitted.
Would the right hon. Gentleman not reconsider the matter in view of the fact that the October Register will not be prepared this year owing to the mishandling of our financial situation by the Government? Does he not think that he ought to take this step in order to allow people to get on the Register?
I have arranged for the two envelopes to be distinguished by having the letters "A" and "B" printed on them boldly, and the revised instructions to the voter refer to them respectively as "the envelope marked 'A'" and "the envelope marked 'B'."
I have not felt able to make this obligatory, because I am advised that some electoral registration officers would find it impossible to produce enough copies for the purpose in the short time available for preparing the list for an election. I propose, however, to ask registration officers to have the lists duplicated and supply copies to candidates wherever practicable.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this does not really meet the position? Would he reconsider the matter with a view to including the provision in the regulations, if possible, because some returning officers are not complying?
No, Sir; I think that the facilities available to returning officers differ so much over the country that it would be impracticable to make this a requirement by regulation, but I am asking them, wherever practicable, to take steps to ensure that lists are available.
It is estimated that this would cost between £150,000 and £200,000 a year for the whole of the United Kingdom. The Government have decided that, because of the cost involved, the proposed change can not be made.
The arrangements for attendance of police at polling stations must have regard to the manpower available, which may not permit a constable to be posted throughout the poll at every polling station. The Commissioner of Police has no power to call up special constables for this purpose, but at the last General Election volunteers were called for and 50 per cent. of the total strength of the Metropolitan Special Constabulary did duty.