Electoral Registration and Administration Bill
Deputy Prime Minister
Nicholas Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council; Sheffield, Hallam, Liberal Democrat)
I am announcing today that the Government are introducing the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill into the House of Commons. The Bill will tackle electoral fraud by speeding up the introduction of individual electoral registration (IER) in Great Britain. It will also modernise our electoral registration system, making it more convenient for people to register to vote. The Bill also introduces a number of provisions that will make improvements to the running of elections.
Last June we set out our initial proposals and draft legislation for the introduction of IER (Cm 8108). We published our proposals for consultation and for pre-legislative scrutiny by the Political and Constitutional
Reform Committee (PCRC). Also, in July and September 2011, the Government published draft legislation in relation to certain provisions contained in the Bill concerning the administration and conduct of elections for pre-legislative scrutiny by the PCRC (Cm 8150 and Cm 8177).
We are very grateful for the feedback that we have received not only from the Committee, but from debates in Parliament and everyone who took the time to respond to our White Paper. The principle of introducing IER was widely supported by both the cross-party PCRC and those who responded to the White Paper. We listened to the feedback expressed about elements of the Government’s proposals and in our response to the PCRC and public consultation (Cm 8245) we announced a series of changes to the proposals. This included ensuring there were more safeguards in place so that as many eligible people as possible stay on the electoral register during the transition so that we can focus on those people eligible to vote but missing from the register. Since the publication we have been working with stakeholders to further refine our proposals. We have listened, and we have learned, and we are confident that our amended proposals will safeguard the completeness of the electoral register while improving its accuracy.
Today we are also publishing a set of documents alongside the Bill to help explain the effects of the proposals. This includes explanatory notes, a number of impact assessments including a statement of equality considerations and a privacy impact assessment, and a Keeling schedule to make it easier to understand the effect of measures within the Bill. It is also our intention that during the passage of the Bill we will publish draft secondary legislation with more detail on the system we will implement, to help inform parliamentary debate and enable those implementing IER to begin detailed planning as early as possible. Copies of these documents will be placed in the Commons Vote Office, the Lords Printed Paper Office, Libraries of both Houses and will be available online on the Cabinet Office website (www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk) and updated as planning for the introduction of IER progresses.