HC Deb 26 July 1944 vol 402 cc749-51
23. Mr. Pritt

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty to what proportion of the Forces serving under his Department the forms for registration as voters have been distributed; and if he is yet in a position to announce what proportion of the recipients have actually registered.

Mr. Alexander

The distribution of registration cards arranged by the Admiralty is on the basis of rather more than one for each officer or man in the Naval Service, but I have no information when the forms despatched to the more distant stations arrived and how far distribution has progressed. The result of the samples which I have taken among the Naval Establishments at home shows an average of 80 per cent. of the personnel as having completed the registration forms. Allowing for the fact that the Home Fleet and the Home Port depots have been concerned with the operations in Normandy during the last two months, I think the hon. and learned Member will agree that this is a reasonable percentage. As I promised those Members of the House who were present at the meeting in the Home Office on 6th July, I have taken action to make doubly sure that every officer or man has had an opportunity to complete a form if he desires to do so. I am not yet able to report concerning the stations abroad.

Mr. Hugh Lawson

Does that mean that in the Navy an actual record is being made of the forms which are completed and sent for registration as voters?

Mr. Alexander

No, Sir. It means what I have said—"from the samples I have taken."

Mr. A. Edwards

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have visited a Home establishment during the last six weeks, and even in the last two months, and in many cases they have not even heard of these forms, and that an officer explained on one occasion to his men that the reason they had not got them was that their lordships had been busy recently on the coast of France but that he hoped soon to have them? There are many places where they had not got these forms, at least up to the last six weeks.

Mr. Alexander

If my hon. Friend had pressed me two months ago, I am afraid that the answer would have been rather gloomy, but the thing is going satisfactorily now.

Mr. Graham White

On a purely constitutional point will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the promise made to hon. Members at the meeting to which he referred, applies to all Members?

Mr. Alexander

I am sure that my hon. Friend would not wish me and my Ministerial colleagues to be discourteous to those who wait upon us.