PART 14 – POLITICAL ACTIVITIES AND ELECTORAL REGISTRATION
a. Regular Service personnel are not to take any active part in the affairs of any political organization, party or movement. They are not to participate in political marches or demonstrations.
b. No restriction is to be placed upon the attendance at political meetings of such personnel provided that uniform is not worn, Service are not impeded, and no action is taken which would bring the Service into disrepute.
c. (Army only. TA personnel are governed in their political activities by TA Regs Chapter 3 Part 8.)
J5.582. All forms of political activity, including political meetings and speeches, are prohibited in Service establishments. Canvassers may visit, and motor cars used for carrying electors to the poll may call at, married quarters and families’ hostels to which there is normal access direct from the public highway. Where access is by Service roads and there is no separate entrance, access to married quarters will be at the discretion of the commanding officer under such conditions as he may approve. Information about party programmes or policies is not to be made available through Service journals or information rooms; nor is any propaganda issued by or on behalf of a political party to be distributed in Service institutions. No publicity is to be given in Service establishments to meetings, fetes, or similar activities having a political association.
J5.583. Service Facilities and Speakers. No Service facilities, including Service aircraft and motor transport, are to be used at, or in connection with, any function the purpose of which is to further the interests of a political party or an organization having controversial aims, nor are Service bands to play at such functions. Where requests are received from political groups for Service speakers to lecture or give a presentation, these should be referred for action to the Ministry of Defence (AG Secretariat), who will reply direct to the group; if there is uncertainty about the nature of any organization, the Ministry of Defence should be consulted. (Army only. See also Chapter 12 Annex A(J).)
a. Attention is called to the Servants of the Crown (Parliamentary Candidature) Order 1960 reproduced at Annex I to this Chapter, with which members of the armed forces to whom that Order applies are required to comply.
b. In addition, no member of the armed forces to whom that Order would apply may announce himself in any manner as a candidate for election to the European Parliament, the Parliament of the Irish Republic or to any legislative assembly of the Commonwealth.
J5.585. Any person to whom the Order mentioned in para J5.584a applies and who desires to stand as a parliamentary candidate or who seeks election as in para J5.584b must make application through higher authority to retire voluntarily or to resign or to be granted a free discharge. In his own interests he should make application as early as possible. Approval of an application will depend on the exigencies of the Service. An unsuccessful candidate will have no right to reinstatement. A candidate or prospective candidate must take all steps within his power to ensure that no public announcement of his candidature or prospective candidature is made before he has retired or resigned or been discharged.
Candidates in Local Government Elections
a. Serving personnel may not accept membership of any local authority, or allow themselves to be nominated for election to any such body, without the permission of the Ministry of Defence (PS 2(Army)).
b. A member of the armed forces who is recalled for service while he is a member of a local authority is to report such membership to this commanding officer.
c. Serving personnel who are permitted by the Ministry of Defence to be nominated for election to any local authority may only stand as independent candidates. They are not to stand as candidates for any political organization, party or movement and, if elected, are not to involve themselves in any way in the affairs of any such organizations, party or movement.
Electoral Registration and Voting
5.587. Full instructions regarding electoral registration and voting are contained in Annex K(J) to this Chapter.
5.587A. Commanding Officers of all units and stations are to appoint an officer(s) to be responsible for providing advice to serving personnel and their families on Service voting issues. Terms of Reference for appointed Unit Registration Officers are:
a. To encourage Service personnel and their families by all appropriate means to register to vote in Parliamentary, European Parliamentary and Local Government elections.
b. To promulgate information on a regular basis (at least 6 monthly) within units on how to register to vote and for the requirement to do so annually.
c. To liaise with local Electoral Registration Officers and give assistance as necessary, including access to units when canvassing individuals to register to vote.
d. To act as a focal point within units in response to initiatives from the Electoral Commission, and other initiatives, encouraging Service personnel and their families to register to vote.
e. To liaise with local family organizations in assisting families of Service personnel to register to vote.
f. To ensure that all-new entrants to the Armed Forces are made aware of the procedures and options for registering to vote.
a. Regular Service personnel may become members of civilian trade unions and professional associations in order to enhance their trade skills and professional knowledge and as an aid to resettlement into civilian life. They are not to participate in industrial action or in any form of political activity organized by civilian trade unions or professional associations.
b. No restriction is to be placed upon the attendance at meetings of civilian trade unions or professional associations or at courses of instruction run by such organizations where attendance at such a meeting or course is intended to enhance trade skills and professional knowledge. Attendance at such meetings and courses is to be subject to the proviso that uniform is not to be worn, Service duties are not impeded, and no action is taken which would bring the Service into disrepute.
c. For the Army only. These rules do not apply to members of the Royal Irish Regiment (Home Service Part Time). However, they should not wear uniform or bring the Service into disrepute when participating in activities of a civilian trade union or professional association.
J5.589. Service Facilities and Speakers. No Service facilities, including Service aircraft and motor transport, are to be used at, or in connection with, any function the purpose of which is to further the interests of a trade union or professional association, nor are Service bands to play at such functions. Where requests are received from either of these groups for Service speakers to lecture or give a presentation, these should be referred to the Ministry of Defence (AG Secretariat) who will reply direct to the group. If there is uncertainty about the nature of any organization, the Ministry of Defence should also be consulted.
5.590 – 5.610. Reserved.