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Electoral Machinery (By-Elections)

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 25 March 1943

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72.

asked the Home Secretary whether any decision has been reached on the proposals set out in the Report of the Committee on Electoral Machinery; and whether consideration is being given to the further suggestion that at any future by-election those who possess a two or three months' residential qualification in the constituency shall be entitled to vote, including those who have reached the age of 21 since 1939?

I am unable at present to add anything to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Hendon (Sir R. Blair) on 11th March, except that the position of by-elections is being kept well in mind.

Regarding the answer to the second part of the Question, about by-elections, is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a growing feeling in this country that of all the people who ought to be able to vote the first are the young men in the Forces and the factories, who are saving the country and saving this House, and that arrangements for them to vote could easily be made?

I entirely agree that it is desirable that every possible qualified person should have the opportunity to vote, but I would not be disposed to agree with my hon. Friend that it is easy to achieve it in present conditions.

Will the right hon. Gentleman, when considering the matter, bear in mind the trouble the Government will be up against every time they move a Writ in this House?

Yes, Sir; the Government always anticipate their troubles, and do their best to circumvent them.