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The Representation of the People Act 1981 provides

(a) for the disqualification 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,

(b) that the election or nomination of such persons shall be void, and (c) that the seat of a Member who becomes so disqualified shall be vacated.

This 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.


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