HC Deb 12 June 1941 vol 372 cc338-9
63 Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Home Secretary whether he proposes to take any action, in view of the refusal of the Barn-staple town council to elect the nominee of the Labour party to that council to fill a vacancy caused by the death of a Labour councillor?

Mr. H. Morrison

As soon as my attention was called to this matter I had a letter sent to the town council of Barn-staple, but in their reply the council adhere to the view that they are entitled to elect someone who was not nominated by the party to which the deceased member belonged. I greatly regret this course which is in my view a departure from an arrangement which was approved by Parliament, and has in general been honourably observed, but I have no power to do more than I have already done.

Viscountess Astor

Is it not possible that there might not have been a good man belonging to that party, and is it not absolutely necessary that we should get the best men for the councils, no matter what their party may be?

Mr. Morrison

That would be a matter for debate, no doubt, in Barnstaple. The fact is that when the legislation was passed there was complete agreement between the parties that this was the straight and honourable thing to do, and I regret it has not been done.

Mr. Lipson

Will my right hon. Friend consult with the local authorities about this?