HC Deb 11 August 1890 vol 348 c498

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the fact that, at the election of elected Members of the Parochial Board of Loth, Sutherlandshire, on the 2nd instant, two women voted for Messrs. Dudgeon and Rutherford, the successful candidates; whether women are entitled to vote at the election of members of Parochial Boards; whether the Receiving Officer acted within his powers in receiving such votes; and whether the election of the aforesaid gentleman is thereby invalidated?


I am not acquainted with the case mentioned except through the question of the hon. Gentleman. As matter of practice, women frequently vote at the election of members of Parochial Boards in Scotland, and are sometimes elected and act as members of those Boards. Their right to do so has never, so far as I am aware, been questioned. The electors are described by Section 23 of the Poor Law Act as the persons from whom the assessments are levied. Women are certainly so assessed when owners or occupiers, and there is an express enactment in the first section that every word importing the masculine gender shall extend to a female as well as a male. Should, however, anyone concerned in the election referred to desire to have the question authoritatively settled, he can go to the Sheriff under the 27th section of the Act.