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Foreign Service '(Franchise)

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 29 November 1945

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13.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why diplomats serving abroad are denied the vote while paying United Kingdom Income Tax

The payment of Income Tax is not a qualification for the franchise. The persons referred to by the hon. Member are not entitled to the franchise because they do not possess the residence qualification required by Statute.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that all servants of the Crown, like members of the Forces, ought to be given qualifications to vote in this country?

The difficulty is to associate them with a territorial constituency. That is difficult enough with regard to certain members of the Forces and would be quite impossible in some of these cases.

Is not the only reason for refusing the vote to diplomatic servants of the Crown abroad the fact that they are few and silent?

No, Sir. If this were granted to diplomatic servants, it could not be refused to a large number of other people, and one would get involved, possibly,. in the end, in the creation of some extra- territorial constituencies.

If any of these people concerned could establish a constituency qualification, would they be given postal voting facilities?

If they were not on the register, certainly they would not get postal voting facilities.