HC Deb 07 May 1981 vol 4 c263
12. Dr. Edmund Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will seek to amend section 1 of the Recess Elections Act 1975 to extend the definition of "disqualifying office" to include the office of steward or bailiff of Her Majesty's three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham or of the Manor of Northstead.

Mr. Mayhew

My right hon. Friend has no present plans to do so.

Dr. Marshall

Why should a distinction be made between seats in the House that have become vacant as a result of death or elevation to the Peerage—for which by-election writs may now be issued during the recess—and vacancies that arise, in effect, through resignations? At present, constituents must remain unrepresented until a writ has been issued after the House has reassembled.

Mr. Mayhew

It is a long-standing convention of the House that the obligation on you Mr. Speaker, to issue a writ during the recess when two hon. Members desire it does not extend to a seat that has become vacant because an hon. Member has accepted one of the stewardships. That is reflected in the statute to which the hon. Gentleman referred.