Early parliamentary general election

Part of Early Parliamentary General Election Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 29th October 2019.

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Photo of Michael Tomlinson Michael Tomlinson Conservative, Mid Dorset and North Poole 6:30 pm, 29th October 2019

The fact that you are listening to me, Dame Rosie, makes me so pleased. It makes me smile.

I take very seriously the intervention from Ian Mearns. I, too, have been a school governor, although my experience is not as great as his. I bow to him for the number of years he has been a school governor. However, as to whether the poll is on a Monday or a Thursday, it seems to me that his point does not make a difference. I would prefer it if no school days were disrupted and if local authorities could find alternative venues, which from time to time they can. Temporary polling stations can be put up at short notice. I take the hon. Gentleman’s point seriously, but I do not see that it makes a difference, as to whether the poll is on a Monday or a Thursday. I do not see that that particularly has an impact on the schools: it seems to me that, if a school is going to be interrupted, it may as well be interrupted on a Thursday as on a Monday. I heard his point about the Friday but, in my experience, which is more limited than his, I have not witnessed schools extending the weekend. I understand the point he was trying to make, but I really do not think that it makes a difference whether it is the Thursday or the Monday. My view, for what it is worth, is that schools should not be disrupted, if at all possible, and that we should find temporary polling stations.