ONE in four British soldiers will miss out on the chance to vote in the upcoming European Union (EU) referendum, shocking new statistics have revealed.
In what has been described as a "travesty for democracy", thousands of troops, military staff and veterans will not have their voices heard on June 23 despite risking their lives for the country.
Next month's referendum, described as a once-in-a-lifetime vote, is likely to come down to the wire with polls showing voters are evenly split.
But the latest armed forces survey found just three-quarters (73 per cent) of employees are registered to vote.
That is lower than the 85 per cent of British adults who are signed up to take part.
With around 200,000 armed forces personnel, more than 50,000 British troops could potentially miss out.
Ukip's defence spokesman said British soldiers had been "gagged" during the referendum campaign, in a boost for 'Project Fear'.
Mike Hookem told Express.co.uk: "Given the huge threat to the UK military which a vote to remain would result in because of the plans for an EU military it is vital that soldiers register to vote and get the facts about the EU.
"Soldiers have been gagged from taking part in campaigning and having an input, unless Number 10 have asked them to sign something on behalf of Project Fear, and now many won't be able to vote.
"This is a travesty for democracy: this is a once in lifetime vote and the future of our country depends on it.
"People who put their lives on the line for this country need to play a part in that decision."
Former British Forces commander Richard Kemp also blasted the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for making "no significant effort to encourage soldiers to register to vote or to vote".
He told the Telegraph: "Given the exceptional circumstances of military service, they should do so."
An MoD spokesman said: "Service personnel are encouraged to register so that they can vote in all relevant elections.
"We, like all government departments, have been running a wide-ranging campaign to encourage everyone both at home and abroad to register to vote in the EU referendum.
"The campaign includes social media, posters and direct information through the chain of command."