§ 62. Mr. SUMMERSBY
asked the Home Secretary what was the total number of people who did not exercise their vote at the last general election; and, approximately, what proportion of that number were aged or infirm people who by their inability to leave their homes were deprived of their vote?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I can only give my hon. Friend the difference between the number of votes polled in contested constituencies and the number of persons on 1128 the register in those constituencies. The figure is 5,473,633. My hon. Friend will realise that this figure does not accurately represent the number who abstained from voting though it is probably a sufficiently close approximation for any practical purposes. I have no material on which to provide the information asked for in the second part of the question.
§ Mr. SUMMERSBY
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the proportion of people who are unable to vote because of physical unfitness is large enough for him to introduce legislation to enable them to vote without visiting the polling stations?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
All I can say is that the total electorate in constituencies in which there were contests at the last general election was 27,180,006 and the votes cast in those constituencies were 21,656,373. In those circumstances, I do not think it necessary to take action.
Is it a fact that a very large proportion of infirm people at the last election voted national?
§ Captain CUNNINGHAM-REID
Is it not a fact that in some of the more scattered country constituencies many of the voters are practically disfranchised on account of the fact that the polling booths are so far away?