§ Mr. D. E. Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to the total number of persons over 18 years of age (a) in Wales and (b) in the United Kingdom who are at present disqualified from voting at parliamentary elections; and for what reasons.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Those disqualified from voting at parliamentary elections include:
- (1) peers: there were 1,178 on 4 May 1982, probably including some under voting age;
- (2) aliens: the 1979 labour force survey estimated that there were about 608,000 foreign nationals, excluding citizens of the Republic of Ireland, resident in Great Britain. This estimate includes those under voting age;
- (3) sentenced prisoners: there were 34,465 sentenced prisoners of voting age, excluding those in detention centres and borstals, in the United Kingdom on 30 June 1982;
- (4) those convicted of corrupt and illegal practices: no figures are recorded centrally.
Idiots, lunatics and persons of unsound mind are disqualified at common law, but no figures are recorded. In addition, mental hospital patients and people detained in legal custody may not be registered as electors in respect of the address of their hospital or place of detention, and as a consequence cannot vote unless they are registered as electors for another address. It is not known how many people are affected by this provision.
There are no separate figures for Wales.