Representation of the People Act 1918

Citation1918 c. 64
JurisdictionUK Non-devolved


Representation of the People Act, 1918

(7 & 8 Geo. 5.) CHAPTER 64.

An Act to amend the Law with respect to Parliamentary and Local Government Franchises, and the Registration of Parliamentary and Local Government Electors, and the conduct of elections, and to provide for the Redistribution of Seats at Parliamentary Elections, and for other purposes connected therewith.

[6th February 1918]

B E it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

I Franchises.

Part I.

Franchises.

S-1 Parliamentary franchises \(men).

1 Parliamentary franchises \(men).

(1) A man shall be entitled to be registered as a parliamentary elector for a constituency (other than a university constituency) if he is of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity, and—

(a ) has the requisite residence qualification; or

(b ) has the requisite business premises qualification.

(2) A man, in order to have the requisite residence qualification or business premises qualification for a constituency—

(a ) must on the last day of the qualifying period be residing in premises in the constituency, or occupying business premises in the constituency, as the case may be; and

(b ) must during the whole of the qualifying period have resided in premises, or occupied business premises, as the case may be, in the constituency, or in another constituency within the same parliamentary borough or parliamentary county, or within a parliamentary borough or parliamentary county contiguous to that borough or county, or separated from that borough or county by water, not exceeding at the nearest point six miles in breadth, measured in the case of tidal water from low-water mark.

For the purposes of this subsection the administrative county of London shall be treated as a parliamentary borough.

(3) The expression ‘business premises’ in this section means land or other premises of the yearly value of not less than ten pounds occupied for the purpose of the business, profession, or trade of the person to be registered.

S-2 University franchise \(men).

2 University franchise \(men).

2. A man shall be entitled to be registered as a parliamentary elector for a university constituency if he is of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity, and has received a degree (other than an honorary degree) at any university forming, or forming part of, the constituency, or in the case of the Scottish universities is qualified under section twenty-seven of the Representation of the People (Scotland) Act, 1868, or in the case of the University of Dublin has either received a degree (other than an honorary degree) at the university, or has obtained a scholarship or fellowship in the University whether before or after the passing of this Act.

S-3 Local government franchise \(men).

3 Local government franchise \(men).

3. A man shall be entitled to be registered as a local government elector for a local government electoral area, if he is of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity, and—

a ) is on the last day of the qualifying period occupying, as owner or tenant, any land or premises in that area and
b ) has, during the whole of the qualifying period, so occupied any land or premises in that area, or, if that area is not an administrative county or a county borough, in any administrative county or county borough in which the area is wholly or partly situate

Provided that—

(i) for the purposes of this section a man who himself inhabits any dwelling-house by virtue of any office, service, or employment, shall, if the dwelling-house is not inhabited by the person in whose service he is in such office, service, or employment, be deemed to occupy the dwelling-house as a tenant; and

(ii) for the purposes of this section the word tenant shall include a person who occupies a room or rooms as a lodger only where such room or rooms are let to him in an unfurnished state.

S-4 Franchises \(women).

4 Franchises \(women).

(1) A woman shall be entitled to be registered as a parliamentary elector for a constituency (other than a university constituency) if she—

(a ) has attained the age of thirty years; and

(b ) is not subject to any legal incapacity; and

(c ) is entitled to be registered as a local government elector in respect of the occupation in that constituency of land or premises (not being a dwelling-house) of a yearly value of not less than five pounds or of a dwelling-house, or is the wife of a husband entitled to be so registered.

(2) A woman shall be entitled to be registered as a parliamentary elector for a university constituency if she has attained the age of thirty years and either would be entitled to be so registered if she were a man, or has been admitted to and passed the final examination, and kept under the conditions required of women by the university the period of residence, necessary for a man to obtain a degree at any university forming, or forming part of, a university constituency which did not at the time the examination was passed admit women to degrees.

(3) A woman shall be entitled to be registered as a local government elector for any local government electoral area—

(a ) where she would be entitled to be so registered if she were a man; and

(b ) where she is the wife of a man who is entitled to be so registered in respect of premises in which they both reside, and she has attained the age of thirty years and is not subject to any legal incapacity.

For the purpose of this provision, a naval or military voter who is registered in respect of a residence qualification which he would have had but for his service, shall be deemed to be resident in accordance with the qualification.

S-5 Special provisions for persons serving on war service.

5 Special provisions for persons serving on war service.

(1) A person to whom this section applies (in this Act referred to as ‘a naval or military voter’) shall be entitled to be registered as a parliamentary elector for any constituency for which he would have had the necessary qualification but for the service which brings him within the provisions of this section.

The right to be registered in pursuance of the foregoing provision shall be in addition to any other right to be registered, but a naval or military voter shall not be entitled to be registered for a constituency in respect of an actual residence qualification in the constituency except on making a claim for the purpose, accompanied by a declaration in the prescribed form, that he has taken reasonable steps to prevent his being registered under the foregoing provision for any other constituency.

(2) The statement of any person, made in the prescribed form and verified in the prescribed manner, that he would have had the necessary qualification in any constituency but for the service which brings him within the provisions of this section, shall for all purposes of this section be sufficient if there is no evidence to the contrary.

(3) This section applies to any person who is of the age required under this Act in the case of that person and is not subject to any legal incapacity, and who—

(i) is serving on full pay as a member of any of the naval, military or air forces of the Crown; or

(ii) is abroad or afloat in connection with any war in which His Majesty is engaged, and is—

a ) in service of a naval or military character for which payment is made out of moneys provided by Parliament, or (where the person serving was at the commencement of his service resident in the United Kingdom) out of the public funds of any part of His Majesty's Dominions, or in service as a merchant seaman, pilot, or fisherman, including the master of a merchant ship or fishing boat and an apprentice on such a ship or boat; or
b ) serving in any work of the British Red Cross Society, or the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England, or any other body with a similar object or
c ) serving in any other work recognised by the Admiralty, Army Council, or Air Council, as work of national importance in connection with the war

(4) A male naval or military voter who has served or hereafter serves in or in connection with the present war shall, notwithstanding anything in this or any other Act, be entitled to be registered as a parliamentary elector if that voter at the commencement of service had attained, or during service attains, the age of nineteen years, and is otherwise qualified.

S-6 Qualifying period.

6 Qualifying period.

6. The qualifying period shall be a period of six months ending either on the fifteenth day of January, or the fifteenth day of July, including in each case the fifteenth day:

Provided that in the application of this section to a person who is a naval or military voter, or who has been serving as a member of the naval, military or air forces of the Crown at any time during the said six months and has ceased so to serve, one month shall be substituted for six months as the qualifying period.

S-7 Supplemental provisions as to residence andoccupation.

7 Supplemental provisions as to residence andoccupation.

(1) Where land or premises are in the joint occupation of two or more persons, each of the joint occupiers shall, for the purposes of this Part of this Act, be treated as occupying the premises, subject as follows:—

(a ) In the case of the occupation of business premises the aggregate yearly value of the premises must for the purpose of the parliamentary franchise be not less than the amount produced by multiplying ten pounds by the number of the joint occupiers; and

(b ) In the case of the occupation of land or premises (not being a dwelling-house) the aggregate yearly value thereof must for the purpose of the parliamentary franchise of women be not less than the amount...

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