HC Deb 25 March 1925 vol 182 cc443-9

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Law relating to the conveyance of persons to or from the poll, and for purposes connected therewith. I am sure that there are many Members of all parties who feel that the present position with regard to the conveyance of voters to the poll is not wholly satisfactory. In the first place, it places the voters, particularly in rural constituencies, in a rather invidious position. They must either, in effect, declare which way they are going to vote, and thereby make the Ballot Act of no effect, or they must be willing to travel in a motor car or some other vehicle carrying party colours, to which party they do not really adhere. That many independent voters do not like to do.

In the second place, the present position of affairs places the owner of a motor car in a very peculiar position as against other people. A man who owns a car may bring the car to the election from a long distance away. He may spend a considerable sum of money in transit. He may have to provide additional wages for the chauffeur, and he may, very likely he will, have to pay a heavy bill for repairs after the election is over. That is considered legitimate, where another man who is prepared to hire a car for the day of the poll is forbidden to do so. Further than that, ten people, say, of no great means, may be prepared to club together and to pay £1 each, or a little less, for the purpose of providing a car, but they are not allowed to substitute themselves for the one man who owns a car. I am sure that every person in this House must realise that that is not an equitable method of dealing with this question.

Further I am certain that hon. Members who own cars, or whose friends own cars, must realise that the damage done to the ear in an election is out of all proportion to the advantage which the car confers upon the community as a whole.

Finally I think we are all beginning to realise that there is a very considerable danger to the public, and particularly to children, in many elections owing to the use of motor cars. Whenever I take part in an election, I am always very much afraid that some child will be run over and killed in the course of the helter-skelter of motor cars during the election. These are difficulties which hon. Members in all parts of the House will recognise.

What are the objects which we have in view? Our object is to enable every voter who honestly desires to go to the poll to have an opportunity of getting there. That implies, in the case of boroughs, that there must be some means of conveying the infirm and aged and those who are unable to walk a comparatively short distance. In counties it means a good deal more than that, because the distance to the poll from the homes of the people is often very considerable, and even active people would be unwilling, if not unable, to go the long distance which would be required in some cases to enable them to vote.

The object of the Bill, which has the support of Members of all parties in the House, is an attempt to remedy this evil. I do not think it is a very easy matter to deal with. It is a difficult and complicated question to tackle. The way in which my Bill proposes to deal with it is this: in the first place, I propose to pro-

hibit the use of private motor cars in taking voters to the poll, except in taking the man or woman who owns the car, and members of their own family living with them. The Bill makes it incumbent upon the returning officer to provide, according to certain Regulations, means of conveying to the poll in all constituencies persons who are infirm or unable to get to the poll. In addition to that, the Bill provides that in the county constituencies each candidate may nominate 2 per cent. of the electorate, and throw upon the returning officer the responsibility of conveying them to the poll.

The Bill does not attempt to do what would obviously be an advantage in regard to the saving of time, and that is, to increase the number of polling stations; but I hope that that would take place at the same time.

I admit that this is a very complicated question. Although I have done my best in this Bill to put forward proposals which I think are reasonable and could be carried into effect, I am bound to admit that they are not perfect. I do, however, ask very sincerely that hon. Members will allow the Bill to have a First Reading, so that it may be printed and they may be able to see it in print for themselves and, where necessary, the Bill can be modified at a later stage. If hon. Members agree to the First Reading of the Bill, they will have" an opportunity of having the definite proposal before them, and they can then consider it.

Colonel APPLIN

I rise to oppose the Bill.

Question put, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Law relating to the conveyance of persons to or from the poll, and for purposes connected therewith.

Colonel APPLIN

I wish to oppose the Bill.


I waited for the hon. and gallant Member to rise. I have now collected the voices.

The House divided: Ayes, 122; Noes, 212.

Division No. 60.] AYES. [4.0 p.m.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Batey, Joseph Buchanan, G.
Ammon, Charles George Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Butler, Sir Geoffrey
Attlee, Clement Richard Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Charleton, H. C,
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Birchall, Major J. Dearman Clowes, S.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Broad, F. A. Cluse, W. S.
Barnes, A. Bromley, J. Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.
Barr, J. Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Compton, Joseph
Connolly, M. John, William (Rhondda, West) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Cove, W. G. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Snail, Harry
Crawfurd, H. E. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Dalton, Hugh Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Kelly, W. T. Stamford, T. W.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kennedy, T. Stephen, Campbell
Day, Colonel Harry Kirkwood, D. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Dennison, R. Lawson, John James Sutton, J. E.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Lee, F. Taylor, R. A.
Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South) Lowth, T. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Fenby, T. D. Lunn, William Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon) Thurtle, E.
Gibbins, Joseph Mackinder, W. Tinker, John Joseph
Gillett, George M. MacLaren, Andrew Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Gosling, Harry Maxton, James Varley, Frank B.
Greenall, T. Montague, Frederick Viant, S. P.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Warne, G. H.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Murnin, H. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Naylor, T. E. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Groves, T. Palin, John Henry Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Grundy, T. W. Paling, W. Welsh, J. C.
Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Ponsonby, Arthur Westwood, J.
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Potts, John S. Whiteley, w.
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Wignall, James
Hardie, George D. Riley, Ben Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Harris, Percy A. Ritson, J. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland) Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Rose, Frank H. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hilton, Cecil Saklatvala, Shapurji Windsor, Walter
Hirst, G. H. Scrymgeour, E. Wright, W.
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Scurr, John
Hore-Belisha, Leslie Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Shiels, Dr. Drummond Mr. Pethick-Lawrence and Mr.
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley) Oliver.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Herbert, S.(York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Curzon, Captain Viscount Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.Derby) Davidson, J. (Hertf'd Hemel Hempst'd) Holland, Sir Arthur
Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Holt, Capt. H. P.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Homan, C. W. J.
Balniel, Lord Dawson, Sir Philip Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Drewe, C. Hopkins, J. W. W.
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Duckworth, John Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Eden, Captain Anthony Howard, Captain Hon. Donald
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Edmondson, Major A. J. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- England, Colonel A, Hume, Sir G. H.
Berry, Sir George Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Huntingfield, Lord
Bethell, A. Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Hurd, Percy A.
Betterton, Henry B. Everard, W. Lindsay Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)
Blades, Sir George Rowland Fairfax, Captain J. G. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Falle, Sir Bertram G. Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Fanshawe, Commander G. D. James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Brass, Captain W. Fermoy, Lord Jephcott, A. R.
Brassey, Sir Leonard Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Briscoe, Richard George Forrest, W. Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William
Brittain, Sir Harry Foster, Sir Harry S. Kenyon, Barnet
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Fraser, Captain Ian Kindersley, Major Guy M.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Frece, Sir Walter de Knox, Sir Alfred
Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Ganzoni, Sir John Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Gates, Percy Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Burman, J. B. Gault Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Loder, J. de V.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Lumley, L. R.
Campbell, E. T. Grace, John MacAndrew, Charles Glen
Cautley, Sir Henry S Grant, J. A. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Greene, W. P. Crawford McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Gretton, Colonel John McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Gunston, Captain D. W. Macquisten, F. A.
Christie, J. A. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. MacRobert, Alexander M.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Clarry, Reginald George Harrison, G. J. C. Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hartington, Marguess of Malone, Major P. B.
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Haslam, Henry C. Margesson, Captain D.
Cope, Major William Hawke, John Anthony Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Couper, J. B. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Milne, J. S. Wardlaw
Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley) Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Crook, C. W. Henn, Sir Sydney H-. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Morris, R. H.
Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Remnant, Sir James Templeton, W. P.
Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Rentoul, G. S. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Murchison, C. K. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint) Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell. (Croydon, S.)
Nelson, Sir Frank Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford) Tinne, J. A.
Neville, R. J. Ropner, Major L. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Rye, F. G. Waddington, R.
Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Nuttall, Ellis Sandeman, A. Stewart Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Sanders, Sir Robert A. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Pennefather, Sir John Shaw, Capt. W. W, (Wilts, Westb'y) Wells, S. R.
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Shepperson, E. W. White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairympie
Perkins, Colonel E. K. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Slaney, Major P. Kenyon Wilson, Sir Charles H. (Leeds, Central)
Pielou, D.P. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Pilcher, G. Smith-Carington, Neville W. Wise, Sir Fredric
Power, Sir John Cecil Smithers, Waldron Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W.R., Ripon)
Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Wood, E.(Chest'r Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Radford, E. A. Sprot, Sir Alexander Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Rains, W. Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Wragg, Herbert
Ramsden, E. Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Rawson, Alfred Cooper Styles, Captain H. Walter TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Remer, J. R. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Mr. Dennis Herbert and Mr.
Gerald Hurst.