HC Deb 10 May 1944 vol 399 cc1881-3
Sir J. Mellor

asked the Secretary of State for Air when forms and explanatory memoranda in pursuance of the Parliament (Elections and Meetings) Act, 1943, were issued to units in England; and what progress has been made with registration.

14. Mr. Loverseed

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will appoint a certain week and take steps to ensure that, so far as possible, throughout the R.A.F., when each man receives his pay in respect of that week he shall also re- ceive the form necessary in order to be placed on the absent voters' list or to have his vote recorded by proxy, together with an explanation on how to fill it up.

16. Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is now satisfied that all personnel in Balloon Command entitled to vote under the Parliament (Elections and Meetings) Act, 1943, have been made aware of their rights; if an officer at the command concerned has been specially detailed for this duty; and, if so, what is his rank.

Sir A. Sinclair

Full instructions regarding the Service Register as well as an explanatory pamphlet were issued on 25th April. Under these instructions commanding officers are required to afford every facility for declarations and proxy appointments. No information as to the progress of registration, which is of course voluntary, is available. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Loverseed) for his suggestion, and in order to facilitate the progress of registration, arrangements are being made, where practicable, for a copy of the registration form to be handed to every airman and airwoman at a future pay parade. Officers will be detailed to explain procedure at these parades and will be available to assist personnel in the completion of the forms. Copies of the explanatory pamphlet will also be available. The date of the parade and the detailed arrangements generally, in Balloon as in other Commands of the R.A.F., must depend on the circumstances and location of the unit but it is hoped to cover all units by 1st August.

Sir J. Mellor

Why is the Air Force nearly a month behind the Army in this matter, seeing that the War Office did all this on 1st April?

Sir A. Sinclair

All I can say is that we hope to get it done by 1st August, and I think that will be satisfactory.

Mr. Bellenger

Is it not a fact that these explanatory pamphlets are not issued to every officer, or every other rank, but that one copy is kept in the orderly room? Will the right hon. Gentleman consider issuing at least one pamphlet to each officer?

Sir A. Sinclair

I will certainly look into the point which my hon. Friend has brought to my notice, but there will be officers available to give detailed explanations to the men at the pay parades. Whether we are making available a sufficient supply of these explanatory pamphlets is a point into which I will certainly look.