HC Deb 13 December 1922 vol 159 c2926

asked the Minister of Labour, as representing the Ministry of Health, whether he is aware that in the present first election by registered nurses in England and Wales, of their direct representatives on the General Nursing Council as provided for in the Nurses' Registration Act, 1919, the Chairman of the Council, Sir Wilmot Herringham, did not send any voting papers until 1st December, and then omitted to send them to 1,000 or more nurses, about one-tenth of the whole electorate, and that protests on this matter were made to the Chairman of the General Nursing Council on the 4th instant, pointing out that as voting papers could not be accepted after noon on the 8th instant, it would be a postal impossibility for hundreds of nurses throughout the country to receive and return them by that date; and whether he will declare the present election to be null and void and cause fresh voting papers to be sent to all registered nurses entitled by law to vote, allowing one month for the return of such papers, as was done in the nurses' election in Scotland?


As regards the first part of the question I would refer the hon. Member to the reply to a similar question by the hon. and gallant Member for South-West St. Pancras on the 6th December. The Returning Officer has already given directions for the issue of new ballot papers, and my right hon. Friend has asked that a longer period should be given for the return of voting papers than the minimum provided by the rules. In view, however, of the fact that the term of office of the present Council comes to an end on the 23rd December it would not be practicable to allow so long a period as the hon. Member suggests without unduly delaying the completion of the new Council.