HC Deb 17 November 1966 vol 736 cc633-4
Q9. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the progress made on the question of electoral reform.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I think we should first await the report of Mr. Speaker's Conference on Electoral Law.

Mr. Hamilton

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is intended to produce and present to this House a package deal on which the House will have to vote in toto or whether we will have an opportunity to vote on each proposal separately? Can he also say whether the terms of reference of the Speaker's Conference can be extended to include electoral reform in Northern Ireland?

The Prime Minister

I do not think that there is any question of extending the terms of reference of Mr. Speaker's Conference on these matters. When we have reports from Mr. Speaker's Conference, it is a matter for consideration by the Government and other authorities in the House through the usual channels and in other ways as to how the House should best approach the reports.

Mr. Turton

As you, Mr. Speaker, have already sent three reports to the Prime Minister—the last reaching him more than seven months ago—can we know when we are to have the Government's observation on these reports?

The Prime Minister

I would like to consider that and perhaps give a reply to the right hon. Gentleman because, of course, one of the points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) is whether we should make piecemeal comments on individual reports or wait until we have more of a general pattern of proposals for electoral change.

Mr. Doughty

Is the Prime Minister aware that one of the most important aspects of electoral reform is the reform of electoral boundaries? Will he give an assurance that when the Boundary Commission's Report is received legislation will be introduced in this Session?

The Prime Minister

I have no statement to make on that point at the moment. When the Government are ready to make a statement, the hon. and learned Gentleman can be sure that we shall do so.

Back to