HC Deb 23 July 1970 vol 804 cc749-50
53. Mr. Cohen

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what requests he has received to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1969, Section 15; and what reply he has sent.

Mr. Sharples

My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations; and provisions for amending the qualifications for election to and membership of local authorities are contained in the Local Government (Qualification of Councillors) Bill being introduced today.

Mr. Cohen

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that any legislation which changed the present situation and reverted to the arrangement by which people were entitled to vote for and sit on local authorities in spite of non-residence would be regarded as a contradiction of democratic principles? In view of that, is he prepared to assure the House that, in spite of the considerable pressures to which he has been subjected by a vocal but totally non-representative minority, he will not atttempt to take such action?

Mr. Sharples

The hon. Gentleman had better await the terms of the Bill, which he will be able to see shortly. He will find that it incorporates not only the principle of the ownership or occupation of property as a qualification, but the Maud recommendation giving the right to stand for election if a person's principal place of work is in the area.