HC Deb 30 November 1939 vol 355 cc221-2
12. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware that schoolrooms in Stretford are being refused to candidates in the by-election for meetings, on the ground that some of them are being used for air-raid precautions purposes and the rest are not blacked out; and whether, in view of the obligation that the election laws put upon the education authorities to place such schools at the disposal of candidates for legitimate election purposes, he will instruct the proper authorities that the blacking-out of those schools not in use for air-raid precautions purposes he proceeded with immediately, so that they can be made available for the candidates?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Kenneth Lindsay)

My attention has not been drawn to the matter. The hon. Member will be aware that Section 25 of the Representation of the People Act, 1918, provides for charging the candidates with expenses incurred in the preparation of a schoolroom for an election meeting. In any case, there is no authority for making the requirement suggested in the last part of the question.

Mr. Gallacher

Are we to understand that the authorities are going into the possibility of blacking-out these places, so that they can be used for meetings in places where there are no proper meeting halls?

Mr. Lindsay

We are trying to get the schools opened for the children.

Sir Joseph Nall

Is not the condition of darkness more appropriate for the candidates concerned?

Mr. McGovern

Would the Minister not give more consideration to this question, seeing that the general public are anxious to hear the Communist candidate defending the Soviet peace proposals?