HC Deb 08 December 1953 vol 521 cc1929-32

10.10 p.m.

The Chairman

The Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele), in page 1, line 19,

is beyond the scope of the Bill and is, therefore, out of order.

Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)

This Amendment would appear to be quite within the rules of order, because what it seeks to do is to make an alteration in the qualifying date in respect of certain voters who are already on the register. It will be seen that the Long Title of the Bill says: …and consequentially on that alteration to alter the elections for which those registers are to be used, and the qualifying date for those elections.… It would appear that under that part of the Long Title I would have the right to move that certain people who are already on the register on 10th October could qualify between 15th February and when the register comes into operation.

At the present time a person is put on the register even though he is not 21 on the qualifying date. A "Y" is put before his name.

The Chairman

This Bill seeks to alter the date of the publication of the register and the hon. Member's Amendment, if adopted, would bring in more voters. Therefore, it is going further than the question of altering the date and is out of order.

Mr. Steele

These people who will be on the register in: any case will be entitled to vote three months later or six months later from 15th February, according to what the regulation may say. All I hope to do is to see that young men and women who will be 21 on 14th February will be entitled to vote during the period from 15th February until they become entitled to vote as a "Y" voter. It would seem that the Amendment is covered by the terms of the Long Title, when it says: …and the qualifying date for those elections. I am seeking to move that while the residential qualification should be as stated, any person who attains the age of, 21 on 15th February should be qualified to Vote.

The Chairman

That would increase the number of voters on the register. The Amendment is out of order on that ground.

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

10.15 p.m.

Mr. Steele

I should like the Under-secretary of State to consider, when this change is being made, the advisability of asking the people responsible for the compilation, of the registers to consider having the B and C registers in different colours from the present registers, and of giving publicity to that. At present, when a person wants to check up whether he is on the register or not he is given three different registers, the old register, the register of the people coming off the register and one of the people who are coming on. If he sees his name in any of these he thinks he is on, and that is wrong.

The hon. Gentleman may not be able to express an opinion tonight about this request, but I do ask him to consider the point I have put to him.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth)

I have had no notice of this question at all. This is the first I have heard of it. The suggestion is entirely a novel one to me. All I can say to the hon. Member is that I will look into the point and write to him. I cannot do more than that tonight.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed.