HC Deb 21 April 1999 vol 329 cc583-4W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will(a) provide for all candidates in local elections free post for election addresses, (b) have the same polling times for local elections as for parliamentary elections and (c) review the guidance given to the media so that the names of candidates in local elections, who are members of local councils, can be given when they are making important statements on behalf of their local authorities. [81130]

Mr. George Howarth

On(a), the Government have no plans to do so at this time. On (b), the Working Party on Electoral Procedures, which I chair, recommended in its interim report of July 1998 that provision should be made in legislation to enable the Home Secretary to approve pilot schemes to explore alternative electoral procedures. Such schemes might include increasing the hours of polling at local elections in line with those at parliamentary elections. On (c), the Government are currently considering, in consultation with the broadcasters and political parties, the provisions in section 93 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 which govern participation in broadcasts by candidates at local and parliamentary elections.

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