§ *MR. GUINNESS (Bury St. Edmunds)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board in connection with the petition from twenty-two Metropolitan borough councils on the subject of the appointment of returning officers for Parliamentary elections in the county of London, if he will state how many of the Metropolitan borough councils were in favour of the proposal in Clause 6 of the Elections and Registration (London) Bill, that the clerk of the county council should be returning officer for Parliamentary elections in the County of London, and how many prayed that the 35 town clerks of each Metropolitan borough council should be appointed to that office.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Dr. MACNAMARA,) Camberwell, N.
The petition referred to, which was presented in October, 1906, did not ask that the clerk of the County Council should be the returning officer at Parliamentary elections in London, and I am not aware that the proposal to form London into one Parliamentary borough was then before the Metropolitan borough councils. It did ask that the town clerks of the borough councils should be the returning officers for Parliamentary elections. If effect were given to the proposal in Clause 6 of the Bill, elections in the Parliamentary borough of London would be conducted in the same manner as in the case of elections of County Councillors. At the latter elections it is the practice to appoint the town clerks as deputy returning officers, and if, as no doubt would be the case, this practice were extended to Parliamentary elections I apprehend that the object of the petitioners would in substance be attained.
§ *MR. GUINNESS
Did not the right hon. Gentleman himself officially state that twenty-two out of the twenty-nine councils petitioned in favour of Clause 6?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is not entitled to make quotations from speeches and raise a question on them.
§ MR. B. S. STRAUS
But is it not the fact that the clause referred to does exactly what these councils desired?