§ Mr. Channon
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what date he estimates that the European Elections Bill has to receive the Royal Assent for the Government to be able to hold direct elections to the European Assembly in May or June 1978.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
Much depends on the form of the electoral system chosen and the progress the Bill makes in the Committee stage. If a regional list system is adopted, it should be possible to hold elections in June 1978, provided the Bill receives Royal Assent before the Easter Recess. If a first-past-the-post system is adopted, under option B in paragraph 30 of the White Paper (Cmnd. 6768) the Boundary Commission would70W need a minimum of 18 weeks after Royal Assent to produce its recommendations.