I move amendment No. 1:
To delete all words from and including "subject" in line 39 to the end of the section and substitute: "subject to the provision that the order shall be made not less than three months before the day upon which polls shall be held and shall be held during the period from 1st April to 31st October."
The purpose of this amendment is to bring more certainty and clarity into the times and the dates at which these elections are held. I suppose the Minister has been so busy in recent times, with the great change that nearly came over him, that he may not have had time to keep an eye on the American scene. It is to be observed in America that there are nationwide elections every two years. If the Minister were looking at television last night—which I am certain he was not—he would have seen that on one ballot paper in one State in America, the American people were able to deal with 34 different appointments, to exercise 34 different choices in one State. It is being suggested in this House that the Island of Saints and Scholars cannot produce an electorate which is able to deal with two ballot papers on the one day.
We should set our face against that outlook. We ought to make it quite clear that the local elections should not be made a plaything for Party political purposes. Therefore, I suggest in this amendment that having decided that the local elections will be quinquennial elections, we should go the further distance of saying that they should be held during the summer months at whatever time is most suitable having regard to the other factors, and that three months notice should be given of these elections. Everyone in the United States knows that the President is elected every four years and they know when a Presidential election is coming up. They know when the local State elections are coming up for a House of Representatives.
I do not see why we in this country cannot set our minds to saying that these elections will be held quinquennially and that we will give three months notice of the date on which they are to be held. That would bring a great deal of clarity into the position. I do not see any argument against it. On the contrary, I think there is a great deal to be said for holding these elections during the summer period from April to October in whatever is deemed to be the most convenient month, and I think advance notice of the holding of them should be given by the Minister.