§ Miss Widdecombe
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has conducted into the number of spoilt ballot papers under systems of proportional representation; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
[holding answer 12 May 2000]: Approximately 0.3 per cent. of the ballot papers that were issued at the European Parliamentary elections and the Scottish Parliamentary elections last year were spoilt, broadly the same percentage as at the 1997 general election. I am advised that the figure for the elections to the Greater London Authority were significantly higher largely because a large number of ballot papers were left blank.