§ Major BARNETT
asked the Minister of Labour, as representing the Ministry of Health (1) whether he is aware that the rules laid down for the election of representatives of nurses on the general register provide that the returning officer shall, seven days at least before the last day fixed for the return of voting papers, cause a voting paper to be forwarded by post to each person qualified to take part in the election; that the day so fixed in the election now proceeding is Friday, 8th December; and that at 12 noon on Monday, 4th December, the voting papers for at least 1,000 of the nurses qualified to vote had not yet been sent out; and will he explain the reason for this;
(2) whether his attention has been drawn to the election now proceeding 1798W under the Nurses' Registration Act, 1919, of 16 persons to be members of the General Nursing Council for England and Wales; whether he is aware that the rules laid down for such election provide that the ballot shall be secret; and for what reason the ballot papers which have been issued have a space provided on the back thereof for an identification number, which must be filled in, and which will enable the identity of every voter to be ascertained and the secrecy of the ballot violated?
§ Major BOYD-CARPENTER
The returning officer has reported that owing to a failure in the arrangements for despatching the voting papers, for which the council's staff are in no way responsible, nearly 1,000 voting papers have gone astray, and he has been obliged to declare that the election must be held afresh where contests are involved. Three candidates have been returned unopposed, and for the remaining seats, therefore, ballot papers will be issued at the earliest possible date. The opportunity will be taken at the same time to correct the printer's error by which the space for the number, to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers, was incorrectly printed on the back of the ballot paper.