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Electoral Machinery (Reform)

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 10 March 1943

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asked the Prime Minister whether following' the precedent of the great war, it is proposed to set up a committee, at a reasonably early date, to enquire into the working of the electoral system?

As my hon. Friend is aware, the question of electoral machinery has been the subject of a recent inquiry. The recommendations of the Committee are under the immediate consideration of the Government. To set up another Committee to consider the wider question of electoral reform would not seem to be an appropriate course in present circumstances,

Does not the Minister feel that it is a very dangerous thing at the present time that all young people under the ages of 24–25 have no vote and therefore feel detached from Parliamentary institutions, and cannot something be done to rectify the matter?

Yes, Sir. However that may be, it is not a question for electoral reform; it is a problem for the new Register.

Will not my right hon. Friend re-consider the promise that has three times been made on behalf of the Government that there would be an opportunity in this Parliament for the consideration of this matter?

This Report has been received—a voluminous Report, as my hon. Friend knows—and there may be an opportunity for a discussion at a later date. It is presently being examined by the Government.

Has not this to deal with a possible emergency? What is demanded is that there should be an inquiry into the whole system, as was the case in the last war.

Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the fact that in the election of 1918 as many votes were cast against the Government as for them?