HC Deb 18 March 1919 vol 113 c1920
107. Mr. SITCH

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that Parliamentary candidates during the Last General Election were refused permission to exercise their legal right to free postage in the case of absent voters unless they posted their communications by 27th November, a week before nomination, and deposited the sum of £50 with the Post Office authorities; and whether this action was taken on his instructions?


Under Section 33 paragraph 2 of the Representation of the People Act, 1918, the dispatch free of postage of Election Communications sent by candidates at Parliamentary Elections is subject to regulations of the Postmaster-General. In order to ensure as far as possible that Election addresses should read absent voters before the arrival of the ballot papers it was necessary to fix as the latest date of posting two days after the issue of the Proclamation summoning Parliament, i.e., 27th November; and experience showed that any extension of this limit would have involved the delivery of the Election addresses after the ballot papers had reached the voters. The deposit of £50 was required under the same Section of the Act, which provides that if the privilege of free postage is exercised before nomination the candidate must give such security as the Postmaster-General may require for the payment of postage in case he is not eventually nominated.