HL Deb 04 April 1979 vol 399 cc1950-2

5.5 p.m.

The MINISTER of STATE, HOME OFFICE (Lord Boston of Faversham)

rose to move, That the Regulations laid before the House on 2nd April, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, it may assist your Lordships if I offer some very brief words of explanation. It has been the policy of successive Administrations that in Wales electoral forms should be prescribed in both English and Welsh. It is clearly right that the policy of bilingualism should extend to such matters as these. In consequence of Parliament's approval to the European Assembly Elections Act and the European Assembly Elections Regulations which noble Lords debated on 8th March, it is necessary to prescribe new Welsh versions of certain electoral forms.

The forms which are before your Lordships' House tonight are form D of the Representation of the People Regulations 1974, the application for a proxy paper; form Q, the application to be treated as an absent voter for an indefinite period owing to occupational or physical incapacity; form R, the application to vote by post owing to change of residence; form U, the application for appointment of proxy; and form V, the application by a proxy to vote by post.

I should stress that your Lordships have already agreed to the English version of these forms which were set out in Schedule 3 to the European Assembly Elections Regulations 1979. I ask the House therefore only to approve the Welsh translation of these forms which has been prepared by skilled translators in the Welsh Office. I would just add, Erfyniaf am gymeradwyaeth, which, as my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor and my noble friend the Government Chief Whip and other noble Lords on all sides of your Lordships' House, will know is the equivalent of, "I beg to move"—and I apologise to them for not doing full justice to their glorious and musical tongue and am immensely grateful to officials here and in the Principality.

Moved, That the Regulations laid before the House on 2nd April, be approved.—(Lord Boston of Faversham.)

5.8 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for moving these regulations and, if I may say so, for the pronunciations of certain of the words that he used. I should like to ask one question that occurs to me: it says that these Welsh form regulations shall be substituted for the form set out in Schedule 1. Should this not in fact be "added"? Are not the forms already in Schedule 1 of the parent Act those that refer to the local elections and Government elections? To my mind, "substituting" means taking out the one and putting in another. I should not like to think that we are depriving the Welsh of voting in local government elections and even in the General Election by some mistake in their own language.


My Lords, I do not think that there is any difficulty here. The draft Statutory Instrument I am assured has been carefully drafted and takes account of the point which the noble Lord, Lord Denham, made. Although I am not able to say that those two words are for all purposes interchangeable, what I am assured is that these will meet the requirements of the elections themselves. I hope that that will suffice.

On Question, Motion agreed to.


My Lords, since another place have not yet completed their consideration of some Bills, we are unable to proceed to Royal Assent at the moment and we shall have to adjourn during pleasure. I do not anticipate that it will be beyond six o'clock. The time when we resume will appear on the annunciator as usual, and so I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure.

Moved accordingly and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 5.10 p.m. to 6.32 p.m.]