HC Deb 28 February 1951 vol 484 cc2082-3
47. Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Defence how many persons in the Fighting Forces are entered as Service voters in the new Electoral Register; and what proportion of the persons qualified to vote in each of the three Services are so registered.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. Shinwell)

It is estimated that about 311,000 men and women in the Forces will be entered as Service voters in the new Electoral Register. The proportion of those qualified in each Service who will be entered is estimated to be about 95 per cent. for the Navy, 67 per cent. for the Army and 75 per cent. for the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Keeling

Can the Minister offer any explanation why the Army has done so much worse than the other two Services? Secondly, as so many young men of about 20 are in the Services, can he say whether those men who qualify for registration if they are 21 by 15th June, 1951, are included in his figure of qualified men?

Mr. Shinwell

The lower percentage for the Army is largely attributable to the wide dispersion of that particular Service.

Mr. Keeling

What about the Navy?

Mr. Shinwell

Strange as it may seem, there are greater difficulties in connection with the Army. As regards the second part of the hon. Gentleman's first supplementary question, the answer is in the affirmative.

Mr. R. A. Butler

On a point of order. May I ask, Sir, whether the Lord President of the Council has any statement to make to the House about a communication he has just received from my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers)?

Mr. H. Morrison

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, but I think that in the interest of public amenity I ought not to disclose it.