HC Deb 04 November 1918 vol 110 cc1815-6W

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that dissatisfaction exists among naval and military voters in France and Belgium that the Order in Council of 25th June, 1918, does not entitle them to appoint proxies through whom they may record their votes at the next General Election; whether he is aware that these men apprehend that the ballot papers sent to them by post during the election may miscarry and not arrive and be returned in time to enable their votes to be duly recorded; and whether, in view of the fact that the Act contemplates the appointment of proxies by all men serving abroad, the Government will take steps to amend the Order in Council so as to allow any of the above-mentioned men to appoint proxies if they wish to do so?


The Act does not contemplate the appointment of proxies by all men serving abroad, and it was generally understood when the Representation of the People Bill was under discussion that proxy voting was to be limited to areas abroad from which it would be impracticable to obtain the votes by post in the time available between the nomination and the counting of the votes. No one, so far as I know, is sanguine enough to expect that it will be possible to poll all naval and military electors in France and Belgium under present conditions, but I hope that under the arrangements which the Post Office authorities have in contemplation a very large proportion of these men will have an opportunity of recording their votes.