§ 11. Mr. Marlowe
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to permit those who find themselves left off the new electoral register to make late application for inclusion, in view of the fact that this register is already known to be unsatisfactory.
§ Mr. Marlowe
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that owing to the pre-war system not having been used for some 10 years, until June of last year, a large number of people were not aware of that duty in this matter? Does he appreciate that this has been brought to their notice by the recent election, and that inspection of the register has shown that a large number of people are not on it? Would he say what would be the objection to having a supplementary list, provided an applicant now satisfies the electoral officer in respect of the qualifying date?
§ Mr. Marlowe
Would the right hon. Gentleman allow me to put this suggestion to him? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I do not suggest re-opening the whole machinery—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] I am asking a question. Would the right hon. Gentleman allow me to suggest—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I think I am in order and being interrogative, but I will put it another way. Would the right hon. Gentleman consider, instead of re-opening the whole machinery to which he refers, merely allowing those who have been left off the register now to be included?
§ Mr. Ede
I will see whether it is possible to do anything in this matter, but it must be clearly stated that the House set up a very elaborate machine by which these matters could be checked, and we must not be blamed because 1230 people, after the full publicity we gave, failed to take advantage of it.
§ Miss Irene Ward
Will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for the registers to be displayed in the open in post offices and not kept, as is the practice now, under the counter?
§ Mr. Ede
If they are kept under the counter it is as undesirable a practice in that matter as in other matters. As far as my personal experience goes, the registers appear to be displayed in very prominent places in post offices. However, I will consult with my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General to see that, if necessary, appropriate instructions are given to postmasters in this matter.
Mr. Peter Thorneyeroft
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many cases the fault is not as he suggests—the applicant failing to make application after publicity—but the returning officer failing to take note of the application.