§ Mr. Mason
asked the Minister of Defence how many Servicemen during the past 12 months have sought to contest parliamentary by-elections; how many were discharged and did not contest the seat for which permission was sought; and if, whilst considering fresh legislation, he will give an assurance that legal discharge will only be granted after nominations have been entered and the deposit made.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
During the past 12 months, 124 Servicemen have sought to leave the Services to contest Parliamentary by-elections, of whom 13 have so far been discharged or allowed to resign, to enable them to do so. Three of those who have been discharged did not contest a seat. As regards the last part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, today.