§ Sheweth as follows:
- 1. A Bill under the above short title is now before Your Honourable House.
- 2. The Bill provides, inter alia, for the alteration of boundaries of certain parliamentary constituencies, for the redistribution of certain parliamentary seats and for the limitation of the parliamentary franchise to those persons who have a residential qualification.
- 3 Your Petitioners are the Municipal and Local Authority of the City of London which City would be seriously prejudiced by the passing of the Bill in its present form.
- 4. For more than six hundred years the City of London has been separately represented in Parliament and at the present time returns two Members to Your Honourable House.
- 5. The Bill provides that for the purpose of Parliamentary Elections there shall be the county and borough constituencies which are described in the First Schedule thereto, and no other constituencies.
- 6. The Bill further provides that the only persons entitled to vote at a Parliamentary election shall be those resident in the constituency whose names appear in the Parliamentary Register in force for the time being. The effect of this would be to deprive the occupiers of business premises in the City of London of their right to vote at Parliamentary Elections and is contrary to the recommendations of the Conference on Electoral Reform and Redistribution of Seats, presented to Your Honourable House in 1944, which recommendations were approved by Parliament in the Representation of the People Act, 1945.
- 7 The First Schedule to the Bill provides that there shall be a constituency to be called "The City of London" which is to consist of the county of the City of London, the boroughs of Finsbury and Shoreditch and the Inner and Middle Temple. This proposal is also contrary to the recommendations of the said Conference and to the provisions of the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act, 1944, which provided that the City of London shall continue to be a separate constituency and to return either two members or a single member as may be provided by the Act giving effect to the recommendations contained in the reports submitted by the Boundary Commissions.
- 8. Your Petitioners humbly submit that there is only a limited community of interest between the City of London and the boroughs of Finsbury and Shoreditch, and that by the overwhelming preponderance of electors in those two boroughs the City of London would have no effective voice in the election of the representative for the constituency of "The City of London" and would be represented in Your Honourable House in little more than name.
- 9. The effect of the provisions of the Bill would be to deprive the City of London of its separate representation in Parliament which Your Petitioners submit would seriously undermine its reputation as the capital City of the
803 British Commonwealth of Nations and as the greatest financial and business centre in the world.
- Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Bill may not be allowed to pass into law in its present form and that it may be so amended as to leave undisturbed the separate representation of the City of London in Your Honourable House.
§ And YOUR PETITIONERS, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.,
§ Signed by Order of the Court.
§ Petition to lie upon the Table.
§ Mr. Driberg
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask if you will be good enough to follow a precedent established by yourself on at least one previous occasion, and extend the time for Questions for a suitable short period, to compensate for the time that has been lost now?
§ Mr. Driberg
Further to that point of Order. With great respect, may I remind you, Sir, that you did it on the occasion of a Debate on the moving of a Writ in the last Parliament, which took up about a quarter of an hour at the beginning of Question Time, and you therefore said that you would extend Question Time by that period?
§ Mr. Speaker
I think that on that occasion I was careful to say that it must not be regarded as a precedent. I am pretty sure of that.