HC Deb 12 April 1934 vol 288 cc489-90

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that an Ordinance has recently been issued depriving all the women in Palestine, except those resident in Tel Aviv, from the suffrage in municipal elections; whether he has given his consent to this Ordinance; and will he reconsider the position with a view to cancelling the Ordinance?

The Secretary of STATE for the COLONIES (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)

It is not the case that women generally have enjoyed the right to vote at municipal elections in Palestine. The new Municipal Corporations Ordinance, which became law on the 12th of January, provides, except in the case of Tel Aviv, for male electorates, but it also provides machinery by which an alteration in the qualifications of voters, including the grant of the vote to women, may be made in cases where a resolution in favour of such a step is passed by a two-thirds majority of a municipal council.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman know that a two-thirds majority is impossible in some of these municipalities, and does he not see the anomaly of the position where women can vote in one town in the country but are deprived of the vote throughout the whole of the rest of the country outside that town?


I do not know what the hon. Member means by "anomaly," but surely it would be highly ridiculous to force a woman electorate upon a Moslem district although it would be perfectly right to allow it in a place like Tel Aviv, which is Jewish.

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