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Elections (Intimidation)

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1922

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asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the resolution passed by the Oxford Trades and Labour Council in favour of picketing polling booths when there is no Labour candidate, in order to prevent workers using their votes in favour of any non-Labour candidate, and also in favour of expelling from the party any members seen trying so to vote; and whether, in case this new form of intimidation should spread, he will consider the desirability of legislation to suppress it with heavy penalties, so as to safeguard freedom of voting?

I have been asked to reply. My attention has not been called to the resolution in question, but I may point out that under Section 2 of the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, the intimidation of electors for the purpose of causing them to refrain from voting is an offence punishable by imprisonment or fine. So far as I am aware, there is no evidence to show that this provision has proved inadequate or that any amendment of it is needed.