HC Deb 27 April 1967 vol 745 cc1813-4
30. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the fact that the recent elections in Greater London show that the composition and membership of many councils of London boroughs no longer reflect the wishes of their electors, he will introduce immediate legislation to repeal the London Government Act, 1967.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

No, Sir.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is it not clear beyond all doubt that a large number of London boroughs are now saddled with Labour-controlled councils which the majority of their electors have rejected? In view of the expressed desire of hon. Members oposite to protect democracy in Athens, would it not be as well to begin in London?

Mr. Jenkins

I am not sure that the repeal of the Act might not conceivably have had the effect of invalidating the G.L.C. elections owing to the fact that the date, for the avoidance of doubt, was fixed in it. Secondly, I do not think that a swing of opinion necessarily involves imediate elections. It was fairly obvious to everybody in 1963 and in the early part of 1964 that an election would rapidly have got rid of the Government of the day which, none the less, clung on to power until the last moment.

Mr. Molloy

Would my right hon. Friend acknowledge the warning which many of us on this side gave that the Act which established the G.L.C. was so full of cheating and chicanery that this result was inevitable?

Mr. Sharples

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that recent events have shown the London Government Act to be a piece of bare-faced political gerrymandering? When and how does he intend to restore political rights to the people of London?

Mr. Jenkins

The people of London have voted and will have the opportunity of voting next year. I am sorry that the Opposition are so nervous about their chances in a year's time.