HC Deb 31 October 1911 vol 30 c718

asked the President of the Local Government Board (1) whether he is aware that doubt has arisen whether women old age pensioners, whose husbands are in receipt of out-door relief, should be placed on the out-door relief list, and thereby be disfranchised at county and municipal elections; and whether he will consider the advisability of introducing legislation to prevent such disfranchisement; and (2) whether he is aware that considerable doubt has arisen as to whether, in the event of the wife of an old age pensioner receiving relief, such relief is to be considered as constructional relief to the husband, in which case his name would appear on the out-door relief list and he would be disfranchised; and whether, in view of this state of the law, he will consider the advisability of introducing legislation to remove such doubt?


Under Section 56 of the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834, all relief given to, or on account of, a wife is to be considered as given to the husband of such wife. Such constructive relief would, no doubt, involve the disfranchisement of the husband, but I could not promise to introduce legislation on the subject at the present time. Relief given solely for a husband would not disqualify a wife, but I may point out that, apart from any question as to the receipt of poor relief, a married woman is not at present entitled to vote at county and municipal elections outside London.