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Electoral Registration

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 19 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that large numbers of citizens have received a form, under the Representation of the People Act, dated 2nd May, compelling them under a penalty of £20 to furnish within five days a list of all adults resident in their house on 10th June; and how they are to comply with this demand.

This form, which is used for the preparation of the register of electors to be published on 15th October next, asks for particulars, not of all persons who may be actually staying in a house on 10th June, but of those who will be ordinarily resident there on that date. I do not think that most people will, in the light of the notes on the form, find any more difficulty this year in supplying this information before 10th June than they did before the war when a similar form was used annually.

If the information required is solely of people who are ordinarily resident, what purpose is served by somewhat confusing the issue by introducing the date of 10th June at all?

Because it is desire to get the information for the convenience of the people who have to compile the register at a reasonably early date.

How can a householder not given the gift of prophecy say who will be ordinarily resident in his house a month from now? He might now be in negotiation with a permanent tenant. Would it not be better to instruct local authorities to postpone sending out the form until five days before 10th June?

I do not think people had any difficulty in dealing with the matter before the war and I have no reason to think that they are less intelligent now.

Is it not the case that there are rapid movements these days and that a man may be some way away tomorrow although he was a Parliamentary Private Secretary yesterday?