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Trade Union Officials (Elections)

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 10 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Labour what steps he takes to satisfy himself that the rules and regulations for the conduct of elections for trade union officials as laid down by the Registrar of Friendly Societies are observed; and what action he takes with regard to persons who infringe these rules and regulations.

The Registrar of Friendly Societies has no power to lay down rules and regulations for the conduct of elections of trade union officials.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the only existing external check of the conduct of trade union elections is the Chief Registrar's powers to prosecute in cases where voting papers or other documents have been fraudulently misapplied? In view of the disturbing evidence which has been given——

In view of the national importance of this question, will my right hon. Friend say whether he is satisfied that the rights of rank and file trade unionists are adequately protected at the present time?

As you have already indicated, Mr. Speaker, that the matter is sub judice because of a certain court case which is going on, it would be better for me to refrain from making any comment at the present time.

Whilst agreeing that it is an issue on which one should not comment, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would not agree that from long usage it has been shown that there is a very fine level of democratic elections within the trade union movement and that it is not for an organisation which never has an election of its officials to criticise a trade union?

I still think that as Mr. Speaker has indicated that the matter is sub judice, it is better for me not to comment even on what the hon. Member has just said.