HC Deb 26 August 1887 vol 320 cc4-5
DR. R. MACDONALD (ROSS and Cromarty)

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether, in connection with the North Hants election, which took place on the 18th of July last, the Assistant Adjutant General issued a Divisional Order, dated 11th July, calling the attention of officers and men to the Act 10 & 11 Vict. c. 21, s. 2, stating, in the words of it— That no soldier will be allowed out of the precincts of the camp or to either the town of Aldershot on those days "— (the day of nomination and election)— unless on guard, picket, or necessary military duty, or to give his vote at the election on the latter day, and any soldier allowed to go out for any such purpose shall return to camp with all convenient speed, as soon as the duty on which he has gone is completed or vote tendered;'' whether information has reached him that Lieutenant-Colonel Jelf, an officer of Engineers, then stationed at Aldershot, on the day of the said election drove about the town of Aldershot taking voters to the poll, and that he was also seen at another polling station, Farnborough, on that day; and, whether, if these statements are found to be correct, he will state whether Major Jelf was justified in so acting, having regard to the order of the Assistant Adjutant General?

THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)

Lieutenant-Colonel Jelf is at the present moment absent from England upon leave. But, so far as I can ascertain, he did drive about Aldershot on the day in question in plain clothes, interesting himself in the election. I am not prepared to deprive officers of the Army of their civil rights when out of uniform.


MR.CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)

said, he desired to ask a question arising out of the very important answer which had been given by the Secretary of State for War, and which was to the effect that officers would practically be allowed to canvass in places where they were sta tioned. Would the same privilege be granted to non-commissioned officers and to privates?


said, he must ask the right hon. Gentleman to give Notice of that Question; but, with all deference to his high authority, it seemed to him to involve a practical impossibility.