HC Deb 20 April 1950 vol 474 cc300-1
20. Mr. Leather

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the widespread abuse of the law relating to official cars at the General Election, and the inability of the police to enforce the law in its present form, he will consider altering this law which at present is unworkable.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

No, Sir. I have no evidence to suggest that the existing law is unworkable.

Mr. Leather

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that during the Election there were many cases of this law creating nothing but annoyance? As it has served no useful purposes whatever does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is an annoyance which should be removed?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I think the law is sound and workable.

Mr. Gerald Williams

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many prosecutions were made as a result of the abuse of this law during the General Election.

Mr. Ede

If the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question, I will supply the answer.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

As this difficulty which has been referred to by my hon. Friend applies to every constituency and to all parties, would not the simplest solution be to increase the number of cars?

Mr. Ede

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is exaggerating the difficulties that occurred.

Mr. Awbery

Will my right hon. Friend consider the abolition of motor cars during elections, except for a few which would be placed under the control of the presiding officer for the conveyance of people who are unable to get to the poll because of sickness?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. We must give the existing law a little further trial.

Mr. Leather

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the rural areas this is a very real problem, and that in my constituency, as in many others, we caught the Labour Party red-handed?

Mr. Ede

That is the sort of hand that I would expect of the Labour Party