§ Mr. Speaker
On 2nd August last, I told the House that I had agreed to preside over a conference to consider various matters of electoral law. I am now able to give the House the names of the right hon. and hon. Members who have been good enough to accept my invitation to serve on the conference. They are as follows:—
- The hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch)
- The hon and gallant Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Major-General Jack d'AvigdorGoldsmid).
- The right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes)
- The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower).
- The hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer).
- The hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Gurden).
- The hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall).
- The hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings).
- The hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John).
- The hon. Member for Leeds, North-West (Sir D. Kaberry).
- The hon. Lady the Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman).
- The hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Knox).
- The hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Leonard).
- The hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur).
- The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan).
- The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson).
- The hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. R. C. Mitchell).
- The hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan).
- The hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker).
- The hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry).
- The hon. and learned Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees).
- The right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross).
- The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson).
- The right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short).
- The hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr Sproat).
- The hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel).
- The right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss).
- The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Sir Robin Turton).
- The hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Wallace).
§ I am asking the conference to hold its first meeting on Wednesday 28th March, with a view to considering items 2 and 3 of the terms of reference which I announced on 2nd August. These relate to the following matters:
§ 2. Electoral registration, particularly—
- (a) the registration timetable, and the frequency of publishing the register;
- (b) multiple registration and the definition of "residence";
- (c) registration of Service men.
§ 3. Minimum age for election.
§ I shall make a further announcement to the House when agreement has been reached on the remaining items in the terms of reference.
§ The joint Secretaries attending the conference will be: Mr. D. McW. Millar, Journal Office, House of Commons, to whom all communications regarding the conference should be addressed; and Miss M. D. Cook, Home Office.
§ Mr. du Cann
You have been aware, Mr. Speaker, of the anxieties of my right hon. and hon. Friends that this matter should be proceeded with. May I, therefore, thank you most warmly on their behalf for the announcement you have made.
I am sure that it will be the general opinion of the House that it should see that its own affairs are especially well in order. It is within the knowledge of the House that the majority of Her Majesty's Forces were disenfranchised, most unhappily, at the last election. May I ask you, therefore, Mr. Speaker—I take that one example from the several which are available—whether it would be possible for you to ensure that the work 1627 of the conference is taken forward with the utmost rapidity and that further reports be made to the House as decisions are made?
§ Mr. Speaker
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. Certainly, I hope that the conference will proceed expeditiously in these matters.