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Deposit by Candidates at Parliamentary Elections

Part of Orders of the Day — Representation of the People Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 14th February 1985.

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Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg , Grantham 4:30 pm, 14th February 1985

I wish to speak briefly to amendment No. 70, which stands in my name. Essentially, it has two points. It suggests that the deposit be fixed at £500 and that Parliament should have the power to raise that sum by affirmative resolution.

I was pleased to hear my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary meeting the views of the Committee by decreasing the proposed £1,000 to £500. That is a very useful concession. I feel sure that most hon. Members will applaud his decision on that matter. The reason is clear. This is a constitutional issue of considerable importance, and I think it desirable that it should receive as widespread support as possible. At £1,000, it did not seem to me that general support was likely to be forthcoming. Therefore, I think that my right hon. and learned Friend deserves the thanks of the Committee.

My second point relates to the proposal that it should be possible to raise the deposit by affirmative resolution. The chance of primary legislation on these matters coming before the House of Commons in the near future is remote. I hope to be in this place for many years—20 or 30 years is the minimum that we should consider for my presence here—but I should be rather surprised—