Electoral Reform

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1964.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Evelyn King Mr Evelyn King , South Dorset 12:00 am, 19th November 1964

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to prevent those engaged in the hotel and tourist industry in seaside resorts who habitually take their holidays in October from being disfranchised when elections are held in that month.

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the whole system of postal voting and bring in legislation to improve it.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will help electors at future elections by taking steps to permit candidates to name their parties on the ballot paper;

(2) if he will help electors at future elections by taking steps to require candidates to name their parties on the ballot paper where there is more than on candidate with the same surname.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Surbiton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will seek to extend postal votes to those away on holiday at election time;

(2) whether, in view of increased costs, he will take steps to increase the maximum permitted expenditure on election expenses.

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

These matters are being considered as part of a general review of electoral law which we are undertaking.

Photo of Mr Evelyn King Mr Evelyn King , South Dorset

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, as the popularity of October for general elections grows, so also does indignation in Weymouth and other seaside resorts? Can he give any indication of when a Government Bill might be introduced? If that is difficult, would he consider giving aid and comfort to any private Member who is fortunate enough to be able to introduce a Bill on the subject referred to in my Question?

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

I am afraid that I can go no further than the assurance I just gave. But I will certainly press on with these matters. I wish I could give the hon. Member aid and comfort, but I feel I could not promise that particular aid and comfort.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

Will the Home Secretary bear in mind that many electors, although they are certain which party they wish to support, sometimes forget the candidate's name? On 15th October in Anglesey three of the four candidates were Jones, Jones and Jones.

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

I can well understand that the coincidence of circumstances of that sort may give rise to considerable embarrassment and that, if possible, we should avoid it.

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind the great increase in the mobility of labour and the very large number of people who, for business, holiday or for one reason or another, have to be away? Does he not agree that it is essential that this matter is put right before the next election in order not to disfranchise a large proportion of the population?

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

I would readily agree that that is obviously a relevant consideration which must be carefully weighed.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

When my right hon. and learned Friend refers to the review which, I gather, he and his Department are undertaking, is he also referring to the all-party talks on electoral reform which the Prime Minister indicated last week would be initiated shortly. Or is he only referring to the latter?

Photo of Sir Frank Soskice Sir Frank Soskice , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

When I used the word "review" I was speaking of the Departmental review which I am conducting with my advisers. That would be preliminary to the further step advocated by my hon. Friend.