HC Deb 09 December 1920 vol 135 cc2437-8W
Viscount WOLMER

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the interpretation placed on Section 5 of the Representation of the People Act, 1918, by the registration officers, whereby all soldiers stationed in the United Kingdom are presumed to be already registered at their domiciliary residence, and that before they can be registered for the constituency in which they are stationed they are required to make a personal application, and to fill up and serve two forms; whether he is aware that 90 per cent, of soldiers stationed at Home have been disenfranchised by this ruling, and that they are consequently left off the register whilst their wives have been automatically included upon it; and whether the Government intend to take any steps to rectify this?


While it is the case that owing to the normal conditions of military service soldiers cannot, save in exceptional instances, be enabled to vote in each constituency in which they happen for the time being to be stationed, I am not aware that, in view of the special privileges accorded by the Act to naval and military voters, this position could correctly be described as disenfranchisement. The claim and declaration required before they can be registered in the constituency in which they are stationed may be made on a single form, and the procedure is by no means onerous.