HC Deb 15 February 1978 vol 944 cc509-11
Mr. John Smith

I beg to move Amendment No. 5, in page 3, line 3, leave out "would be entitled" and insert—

  1. '(i) have their names on such parts of the register of parliamentary electors as relate to the Assembly constituency; and
  2. (ii) would be entitled.'
This amendment seeks to correct a possible anomaly which came to light as a result of discussion of the clause in Committee. In debate, the right hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) pointed out that an elector appeared to be able to make a choice of two or three Assembly constituencies within the parliamentary constituency in which he lived, and he hinted that an elector could cast a vote in each.

In reply, I said that the intention was to fill in the detail with an order under Clause 5(3)—now 4(3)—dealing with the conduct of elections. It is quite clear that an order under Clause 4(3) can prevent people voting more than once in an election by attracting Section 48 of the Representation of the People Act 1949, which makes it an offence for someone to vote more than once in the same constituency or in more than one constituency.

However, after further consideration, the Government accept that there is room for doubt as to the power to provide by order under Clause 4(3) that an elector shall vote only in the Assembly constituency in which he is registered as residing. We have therefore decided to take up the suggestion made by the right hon. Member for Crosby and make specific provision to meet this point in Clause 4.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

I am grateful to the Minister of State for taking up the proposal which I made in Committee. I am glad that the Leader of the House is present, because I can thank him too. His name is at the top of the amendment, he having taken over my proposed amendment.

The Minister of State knocked me about a little on the previous occasion when I had the temerity to suggest that there was one comma wrong in the draft of the Bill. I am grateful that he is now admitting a little error in the Bill and has put it right.

Amendment agreed to.

Back to
Forward to