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Question, That the Bill, as amended, be now considered, put accordingly, and agreed to.

It being after Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill stood adjourned.

Bill to be further considered on Thursday 6 July.

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Representation of the People Bill [Money]

Queen's Recommendation having been signified--

Motion made, and Question proposed,

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Representation of the People Bill, it is expedient toauthorise-- ((a) the charging on and payment out of the Consolidated Fund of any increase attributable to the Act in the sums charged on and paid out of that Fund under any other enactment, and

(b) the payment out of money provided by Parliament of-- (

(i) any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable out of money so provided under any other enactment, and

(ii) any administrative expenses incurred by the Secretary of State in consequence of the Act.-- [Mr. Douglas Hogg.]

10.12 pm

Mr. Harry Barnes (Derbyshire, North-East) : No price is too high for the extension of democracy. However, the Bill will mean the destruction of democracy. The poll tax has destroyed the British electorate and the Government are now prepared to spend money on replacing that electorate with expatriates who have few links with Britain. They should not spend money on the destruction of democracy. If the Government are intent on destroying democracy, they should do it on the cheap. They are not doing that in the Bill.

What is spent on electoral registration and its subsequent provisions in Britain? The explanatory and financial memorandum gives a cost of £1.72 per person for initial registration and 62p per person thereafter. What do such figures cover? Do they cover the issuing of registration forms that people are asked to complete? Will they be even simpler than my poll tax registration form, which has not yet been filled in and will not be filled in? Is there any money for advertising to encourage people to register?

The Government are very lax about encouraging people to register for electoral purposes. Last year they spent about £320,000--a little more than previously--from a total advertising budget of £100 million. It appears that the franchise is worth only 0.31 per cent. of the Government's advertising expenditure while other rubbish such as the poll tax leaflet, which costs a fortune, is dished out and used to destroy the democratic process rather than extend it.

Earlier, the Minister stated that as many as 2 million British citizens overseas could qualify for electoral registration under the provisions of the Representation of the People Bill, which has been given its Second Reading. To provide that facility will cost £3.5 million, which contrasts starkly with the £320,000 that the Government spend on stimulating the electorate in this country. Is there any alternative to spending that £3.5 million on initial registration, and the additional £1 million required to maintain the electoral rolls of people who have little connection with this country? In many cases they have deserted this country for more than 25 years ; others were taken out of this country as babes in arms but after 18 years they will qualify to vote in Britain. They will survive for at least seven years on the electoral register, probably voting in respect of constituencies that did not even exist when they were born and about which they know nothing.

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No money should be spent by the Government in connection with the Representation of the People Bill. If they want to implement its provisions, they should do so off their own bat and not expect the public to pay for the destruction of democracy, of public services, and of the freedoms for which working-class people have struggled for so long.

Question put :--

The House divided : Ayes 98, Noes 5.

Division No. 270] [10.17 pm


Alexander, Richard

Amess, David

Amos, Alan

Arbuthnot, James

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)

Ashby, David

Atkinson, David

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)

Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)

Bevan, David Gilroy

Boscawen, Hon Robert

Boswell, Tim

Bowis, John

Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard

Bright, Graham

Buck, Sir Antony

Butler, Chris

Carlisle, John, (Luton N)

Carrington, Matthew

Carttiss, Michael

Chapman, Sydney

Chope, Christopher

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Devlin, Tim

Dover, Den

Emery, Sir Peter

Fallon, Michael

Fishburn, John Dudley

Forth, Eric

Franks, Cecil

Freeman, Roger

Garel-Jones, Tristan

Gill, Christopher

Gow, Ian

Greenway, John (Ryedale)

Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)

Ground, Patrick

Hague, William

Hampson, Dr Keith

Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)

Harris, David

Hawkins, Christopher

Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)

Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)

Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)

Hunt, David (Wirral W)

Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)

Irvine, Michael

Janman, Tim

Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey

Jones, Robert B (Herts W)

King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)

Lawrence, Ivan

Lee, John (Pendle)

Lightbown, David

Lilley, Peter

Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)

Lord, Michael

Lyell, Sir Nicholas

Macfarlane, Sir Neil

MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)

Maclean, David

McLoughlin, Patrick

McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael

McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick

Mans, Keith

Martin, David (Portsmouth S)

Maude, Hon Francis

Mitchell, Sir David

Moate, Roger

Moss, Malcolm

Moynihan, Hon Colin

Neubert, Michael

Nicholson, David (Taunton)

Norris, Steve

Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley

Porter, David (Waveney)

Raffan, Keith

Rhodes James, Robert

Roe, Mrs Marion

Sackville, Hon Tom

Shaw, David (Dover)

Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')

Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)

Shersby, Michael

Sims, Roger

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