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Representation Of The People Acts

Volume 886: debated on Wednesday 12 February 1975

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47.

asked the Lord Advocate how many prosecutions have taken place in Scotland in the past year for offences connected with the Representation of the People Acts.

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend regard it as surprising that the number of irregularities is so low, particularly in respect of the recent elections, involving illegal fly-posting, not to mention other illegalities and irregularities? Is he aware that although my election agent, Mr. Henry Dawson, has submitted well-substantiated and detailed complaints to the procurator fiscal in Stirling concerning certain irregularities about the election expenses of the SNP, the procurator fiscal has not so far taken any action? Is my right hon. and learned Friend in a position to investigate the reason for this lack of action? Many Scottish people are beginning to suspect that it is not for legal reasons but for politicial reasons that this situation is allowed to continue.

On the matter relating to my hon. Friend's constituency, I think that it would be inappropriate to reply at this time, but I shall write to him on the subject. As for the number of prosecutions, my hon. Friend should appreciate that of seven cases reported to the Crown Office one is sub judice, the charge having been served. In regard to the other six, no proceedings were ordered by Crown counsel, he having carefully considered the available evidence.

Does not the Lord Advocate agree that the most serious offence connected with the Representation of the People Act in Scotland in the past year has been the return of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock Mr. Ross to the Scottish Office, which in the last few weeks has resulted in increased unemployment in Scotland, to a figure of over 100,000, and the most severe cuts in school building in Scottish history?

The hon. Gentleman does not really deserve an answer to that question, but the answer is "No, I do not agree."