History

Never let it be said that Parliament tried to micro-manage elections

Hansard, 15 March 1950, brings us this gem:

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison asked the Postmaster-General whether, in order to avoid unnecessary expense and to economise in the use of paper, he will amend paragraph 6 of the Regulation made under Section 79 of the Representation of the People Act, 1949, so as to permit folders of a maximum length of 9 in. and a maximum depth of 4½ in., to be sent by post.

Mr. Ness Edwards: The greater the size of the folder the greater will be the danger of trapping other items in the post and delaying them. For this reason, maximum limits of 6 in. × 3½ in. have been fixed in the light of experience, and I regret I cannot see my way to extend them.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison: Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that in the past, and even in the 1945 election, folders of this size were sent out in many districts; and will he reconsider the matter?

Mr. Ness Edwards: Representatives of the three parties met my predecessor on this matter, and after discussing the whole problem they regarded this as the most satisfactory size for posting.

Footnote about the Representation of the People Act, 1949: it removed the last forms of plural voting in general elections whereby people were entitled to vote more than once. After it was brought into force, you could only vote once even if you were able to be registered in more than one place.

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