Representation of the People Act 1981

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

Representation of the People Act
Long titleAn 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.
Citation1981 c. 34
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Royal assent2 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

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 April 1981 Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election, 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.