HC Deb 21 April 1948 vol 449 cc1884-5

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. J. S. C. Reid

The same point arises here, in rather a different shape, under Subsection (1), which says: A registration officer shall comply with any general or special directions which may be given by the Secretary of State with respect to the arrangements to be made by the registration officer for carrying out his registration duties. I am not sure what is in mind in that Subsection. I do not even know whether this is new or old, but special directions by a Secretary of State on election matters are a little uncommon. I can imagine the necessity for general directions, but we might have an indication of the kind of thing which has caused the insertion of the words, "special directions," which I am sure would not have been put there unless a particular point was in mind. It may be that the point is a good one, but we ought to be told what is contemplated before the words "special directions" go into the Bill.

7.15 p.m.

Mr. Ede

This Clause is a re-enactment of Section 13 (1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1918.

Mr. Reid

Will the Secretary of State say if it has ever been found necessary to use a special direction in either Parliamentary or local government elections? It may be valuable to know what has happened in the past.

Mr. Ede

As far as I know at the moment, it has not been necessary, but from time to time matters do arise in which it is necessary to give directions to the appropriate officers.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.