HC Deb 05 July 1932 vol 268 cc255-9

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require candidates at local government elections to deposit a sum of money to be forfeited under certain conditions. I need detain the House only a very few minutes in explaining the provisions of the Bill, as they are very few and simple. The Bill is also, in my opinion, quite uncontentious. All parties in municipal life suffer from the abuse which it attempts to remedy. Its object is to bring local government elections into line with Parliamentary elections in so far as the payment of a deposit by candidates i; concerned, such deposit to be forfeited unless the candidate secures a certain quota of the votes polled, which is fixed in the Bill at one-eighth. As the House is aware, there are a large number of municipal elections where freak candidates, commanding practically no support whatever, put themselves up, or have themselves put up, in several wards, thereby causing not only considerable expense to bona fide candidates, but involving the borough in a wholly unnecessary election in a very serious expense in the way of poll clerks, engaging halls for the election and other incidental expenses.

There was a recent case in a county council election where a candidate put up for no fewer than five different divisions and got only a negligible number of votes in any one case, but which involved the county in very considerable expense. Lancashire Members will be aware of a similar case which has recently occurred in Manchester. Then there is also a flagrant case, to which my attention has been drawn by present Members of this House, namely, the case of the borough of Hornsey, where one individual has been in the habit of getting himself nominated again and again for practically every ward in the borough, and I am told that he gets only two or three votes in each ward; yet it involves the borough, quite apart from the candidates who have had to oppose him, in hundreds if not thousands of pounds of expense. I am also told that there is a similar case in the borough of Marylebone. I do not wish to detain the House, or I could give similar instances in all parts of the country.

The Bill provides that a duly nominated candidate at a county council election shall deposit with the returning officer the sum of £20, and a duly nominated candidate at a borough council or urban district council election shall deposit with the returning officer the sum of £10. This deposit shall be forfeited in the event of the candidate failing to poll one-eighth of the total number of votes polled; in the case of a division, ward or district returning more than one member, one-eighth of the total number of votes polled divided by the number of members to be elected. It is also provided that where a candidate is nominated at an election in more than one division, ward or district, he shall in no case recover his deposit more than once, that is, if he gets votes in one ward to entitle him to get the money back, he shall not be

entitled to get more than the one deposit back, and shall forfeit the other deposits.


I want to oppose the introduction of this Bill. In my opinion, it is one of the most reactionary proposals that have been brought before the House. To say that a candidate at a county council election must be prepared to deposit £20 means that working-class candidates will be unable to stand. It is clear that the object of this Bill is in the interests of the rich, to make it impossible for working men to come forward as candidates. If this Bill were in operation in the county of Durham, we could not put up candidates for the county council or the local elections. It is clear, on the face of it, that the object of the Bill is to make it impossible for working men to run as candidates in local elections. If the object is, as the hon. Member says, to prevent a candidate standing for a number of seats, let him bring in a Bill to that effect, and we may support it; but it is one thing to prevent a person from standing for four, five or six seats, and another thing to bring forward a proposal such as is contained in this Bill, to which I am strongly opposed.

Question put, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require candidates at local government elections to deposit a sum of money to he forfeited under certain conditions.

The House divided: Ayes, 212; Noes, 64.

Division No. 280.] AYES. [4.9 p.m.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds,W.) Castlereagh, Viscount Donner, P. W.
Altchison, Rt. Hon. Cralgle M. Cautley, Sir Henry S. Eady, George H.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J.Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Edmondson, Major A. J.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Elliston, Captain George Sampson
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Emmott, Charles E. G. C.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Entwistle, Cyril Fullard
Atholl, Duchess of Chalmers, John Rutherford Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)
Balley, Eric Alfred George Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Essenhigh, Reginald Clare
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Chotzner, Alfred James Fermoy, Lord
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Christie, James Archibald Fraser, Captain Ian
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Clarry, Reginald George Fremantle, Sir Francis
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.) Clayton, Dr. George C. Ganzonl, Sir John
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Clydesdale, Marquess of Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Conant, R. J. E. Gluckstein, Louis Halle
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Cook, Thomas A. Goff, Sir Park
Blaker, Sir Reginald Cooke, Douglas Goldle, Noel B.
Bossom, A. C. Copeland, Ida Goodman, Colonel Albert W.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Cowan, D. M. Gower, Sir Robert
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Crooke, J. Smedley Greene, William P. C.
Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Broadbent, Colonel John Crossley, A. C. Grimston. R. V.
Browne, Captain A. C. Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.
Buchan, John Cuiverwell, Cyril Tom Guy, J. C. Morrison
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Hacking, Rt. on. Douglas H.
Burnett, John George Denville, Alfred Hales, Harold K.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert Hammersley, Samuel S.
Hanley, Dennis A. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Savery, Samuel Servington
Harbord, Arthur Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Scone, Lord
Hartland, George A. Milne, Charles Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) ShepperSon, Sir Ernest W.
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Mitcheson, G. G. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Hepworth, Joseph Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Slater, John
Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Somerset, Thomas
Hornby, Frank Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Nicholson, Rt. H n. W. G. (Petersf'd) Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) North, Captain Edward T. Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Nunn, William Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Oman, Sir Charles William C. Stevenson, James
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Ormiston, Thomas Stewart, William J.
Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Penny, Sir George Strickland, Captain W. F.
Kerr, Hamilton W. Petherick, M. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Kimball, Lawrence Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Kirkpatrick, William M. Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Law, Sir Alfred Potter, John Summersby, Charles H.
Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Pownall, Sir Assheton Tate, Mavis Constance
Leech, Dr. J. W. Pybus, Percy John Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Lees-Jones, John Raikes. Henry V. A. M. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Leigh, Sir John Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Ramsden, E. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Liddall, Walter S. Rankin, Robert Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Lindsay, Noel Ker Rathbone, Eleanor Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Liewellyn-Jones, Frederick Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Reid, William Allan (Derby) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
MacAndrew. Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick) Remer, John R. Watt, Captain George Steven H.
MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
McConnell, Sir Joseph Robinson, John Roland Weymouth, Viscount
Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Rosbotham, S. T. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
McKie, John Hamilton Runge, Norah Cecil Womersley, Walter James
McLean, Major Alan Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Worthington, Dr. John V.
McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wragg, Herbert
Maitland, Adam Rutherford, Sir John Hugo Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Salmon, Major Isidore
Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Salt, Edward W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Marsden, Commander Arthur Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham) Sir William Davison and Mr. James
Martin. Thomas B. Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart Duncan.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grundy, Thomas W. Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Attlee, Clement Richard Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Maxton, James
Batey, Joseph Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Milner, Major James
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Healy, Cahir Parkinson, John Allen
Buchanan, George Hirst, George Henry Peake, Captain Osbert
Cape, Thomas Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Pickering, Ernest H.
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Price. Gabriel
Colville, John Hurd, Sir Percy Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jenkins, Sir William Salter, Dr. Alfred
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) John, William Tinker, John Joseph
Curry, A. C. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hall)
Daggar, George Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Williams. David (Swansea, East)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Kirkwood, David Williams. Edward John (Ogmore)
Dickie, John P. Knight, Holford Williams. Dr. John H. (Lianelly)
Duggan, Hubert John Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Edwards, Charles Logan, David Gilbert Wood. Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Eimley, Viscount Lunn, William Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Foot. Dingle (Dundee) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Gibson, Charles Granville McKeag, William Mr. Duncan Graham and Mr.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton Groves.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)

Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir William Davison, Lieut.-Colonel Applin, Mr. Campbell, Mr. James Duncan, Mr. Hannon, Sir Assheton Pownall, Sir William Ray and Sir Gervais Rentoul.