Members of the House of Lords are like convicted prisoners and people detained under the Mental Health Act – we don’t have a vote in UK Parliamentary elections. I am tempted to believe that when the franchise was framed those drafting the legislation equated the inside of the House of Lords with a penal establishment or a lunatic asylum. However, I expect the real reason is that as we are already Members of Parliament we do not need further representation in the House of Commons.
We do, however, get a vote in elections for the European Parliament and for local elections.
So this morning I was able to play my part in the democratic process. It also set a test for Haringey’s electoral administrators as to whether I would be issued with the right ballot paper – a test I am pleased to say they passed without me having to prompt them!
I cast my three votes, of course, for the three Labour Council candidates – all of whom will make excellent councillors if elected.
Two notable features.
First, the polling station was busy. The presiding officer, who has been presiding there for as long as I can remember, said it was the heaviest morning voting that she could recall and that there had been people waiting outside to vote at 6.50am. So, it looks as if there is going to be a high turnout.
Second, there was a complete absence of the Tory Party. There were tellers outside the polling station from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, but no Conservatives – even though this was a constituency that was continuously Conservative up until 1992.