Sir George raised with the Leader of the House of Commons the current arrangements for holding an election when one of the candidates dies during the campaign.
“Fortunately, this doesn’t occur very often, but when it does it means that a constituency is without an elective representative for up to three months. This happened when one of the candidates sadly died during the General Election campaign in South Staffordshire.
"If that candidate had stood against the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister would not have been able to present the Queen’s Speech to the House of Commons, because the Sedgefield election would not have taken place until the end of June. Likewise, if another candidate died in the postponed General Election, the election in that constituency would be postponed for a further six weeks. There must be a better way of completing a General Election than the one that we have at the moment. I hope the Leader of the House will be able to come up with some proposals for the House to consider.”
Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): The Leader of the House will know that today is the date of the election in the South Staffordshire constituency. The Opposition clearly wish a safe return to Sir Patrick Cormack. Can the Leader of the House arrange a debate in Government time on whether there is a better way to deal with those unusual but tragic circumstances in which a candidate dies during a campaign that does not involve a constituency being disenfranchised for two months?
Mr. Hoon: Sir Patrick Cormack remains a distinguished member of the House of Commons Commission. I need to be careful about what I say about the prospect of his return, but there is a meeting of the Commission on Monday, and I am confident that the issue will be raised in due course.