HC Deb 16 January 1978 vol 942 c84W
Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what study he has made of the exceptionally high number of votes cast by postal vote at the last General Election, in the constituencies of Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh and South Tyrone; what were the figures in these constituencies for the previous four General Elections; and what circumstances pertain to those two constituencies which do not prevail elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Carter

The percentage of postal voters in the last three General Elections are shown below:

Mid-Ulster Fermanagh and South Tyrone
October 1974 11.8 14.
February 1974 8.7 11.8
June 1970 8.5 10.1

The law on postal voting, which applies uniformly throughout the United Kingdom, provides that an application must be based on the nature of the applicant's occupation, physical incapacity, the necessity of a journey by sea or air or the ground that the applicant no longer resides at his qualifying address.

In accordance with normal practice applications for postal votes have been destroyed as have the papers containing the postal voting figures for elections prior to 1970. No study has been made of the factors which may have contributed to the relatively high percentage of postal votes in these constituencies.