HC Deb 16 March 1973 vol 852 cc1625-7
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:—

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—

  1. (a) the registration timetable, and the frequency of publishing the register;
  2. (b) multiple registration and the definition of "residence";
  3. (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 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.

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