§ COLONEL WALKER (Lancashire, Widnes)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Education whether it will not be incumbent upon the applicants for extended facilities to show at the public inquiry that there is alternative school accommodation for all children whose parents do not desire the facilities within the meaning of paragraph (b) of Subsection (1) of Clause 4 of the Education Bill; and, if so, how the applicants are to get the names of those parents in time for making the necessary inquiries or at all; and whether the production and publication of those names is consistent with the secrecy of the ballot.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The ultimate effect of Clause 4 will be as follows:—The ballot will determine whether or not paragraph (a) of the clause is complied with, i.e., whether the requisite 80 per cent, of children desire the extended facilities, and will consequently show at the same time the number of school-places (not the actual individual children) which may possibly be required in other schools under paragraph (b) of the clause. It will then rest with the public inquiry to determine whether this full number of school-places in other schools will actually be required, or whether any deduction is to be made from that number in respect of children whose parents were unable to vote at the ballot and who do not require that other accommodation. It is obvious, therefore, that there will be no occasion whatever to infringe the secrecy of the ballot, or to ascertain in what way any particular parents may have voted.