HC Deb 26 July 1949 vol 467 cc2412-3
Mr. Younger

I beg to move, That the Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations, 1949, dated 14th July, 1949, a copy of which was laid before this House on 14th July, be approved. The amendments proposed in this order are simply amendments to forms which are used in connection with the registration of electors. They are made necessary by the change in the qualification which was effected by Section 6 of the Ireland Act, 1949. The House will remember that under that Act there is a requirement of a three months' residence qualification for registration, where previously the qualification had merely been residence on a qualifying date. The two forms which are affected are form A, which is a form on which the occupier of premises has to make a return of the persons resident at his premises, and form O, on which a person makes a claim for registration. In both forms it has been necessary to introduce references to the qualifying period instead of, as before, to the qualifying date.

Mr. E. P. Smith (Ashford)

Will the Parliamentary Secretary tell us why the limit of five days has been imposed in the schedule for the return by an occupier as to residence? It seems a very short time, and I should like some explanation of why five days has been selected.

Mr. Younger

That point is not one I have heard raised before. This is no change from the existing system. I think the reason why it appears in this order is that there has been no objection. I could not say why it was originally chosen, but there is no change and, as far as I am aware, it has given rise to no difficulty.

Mr. Smith

I am raising objection to it? Why should it be five days? Why should it be 10 days? The Parliamentary Secretary cannot get away with it on the grounds of precedence, for I am raising it as something entirely fresh. Why should it be five days?