Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1970.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will legislate to ensure that students at universities, colleges and polytechnics should be entitled to be registered as voters only in their normal place of residence, and that that designation should exclude their place of study unless they have no other residence in the United Kingdom.
I have nothing to add to the reply to a Question on this subject which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Rye (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine) on 29th October.—[Vol. 805, c. 176.]
Does my hon. Friend appreciate that, whatever view one may take of the student vote in national elections—and personally I have no reason to regret it—its impact in local elections can cause very deep and great resentment, particularly when students are concentrated in one or two wards of a university city?
I appreciate the problem to which my hon. Friend refers. But the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal clarified the law on residence as a whole and it is this law which we may need to consider at some stage. It would not be possible, in considering it, to differentiate in the case of students.
Will the hon. Gentleman resist the view of the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse)? Will he agree that there is no reason why students alone should be excluded from double residence qualifications when wealthy members of the Tory Party have them? It would be quite wrong to accept this suggestion at a time when the Government are rigging the qualification for candidates in local elections.
As I said in answer to my hon. Friend, it is the law of residence as a whole which we may need to consider.