Representation of the People Act 1981

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Representation of the People Act
Long title An Act to disqualify certain persons for election to the House of Commons; to make changes in the timetable for parliamentary elections; and for connected purposes.
Citation 1981 c. 34
Territorial extent United Kingdom
Royal assent 2 July 1981
Status: Amended
Text of the Representation of the People Act 1981 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

The Representation of the People Act 1981 (c. 34) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

It provides:

  1. for the disqualification from membership of the House of Commons of any person who is detained anywhere in the British Islands or the Republic of Ireland (or who is unlawfully at large at any time when he would otherwise be detained) for more than a year for any offence,
  2. that the election or nomination of such persons shall be void, and
  3. that the seat of a Member who becomes so disqualified shall be vacated.

The Act was passed following the election to the Westminster Parliament of a hunger-striker, Bobby Sands, in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election, April 1981, while he was serving a long term of imprisonment.

As a result of the Act, following the death of Bobby Sands, other prisoners on hunger strike were unable to stand in the second 1981 by-election in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.


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