New section 1G (Duty to have regard to guidance)
51 New section 1G provides in new subsection (1) that the registration officer must take account of any guidance issued by the Minister for the Cabinet Office or the Secretary of State about the registration and renewal of overseas electors.
52 New subsection (2) provides that such guidance may include guidance in determining:
1. a person’s qualification to register as an overseas elector in a particular constituency;
2. whether to allow an applicant to register under the previous residence condition where there is a doubt as to whether the applicant had previously been registered; and
3. whether a person can remain registered following their renewal declaration.
53 In the application of this section to Northern Ireland, the intention is that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will have the function of giving guidance to the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland.
54 New subsection (3) outlines the definitions of terminology used in this section.
55 Clause 1(2) saves sections 1 and 2 of the RPA 1985 for the purposes of section 3 of the RPA 1985, and section 17(3)(c) of the European Parliament (Representation) Act 2003 ,and regulations made under those sections. This will enable Peers and persons living in Gibraltar who are entitled to vote as an overseas elector, respectively, to continue to register as an overseas elector for the purposes of European Parliamentary Elections until such time as the United Kingdom completes the withdrawal process from the European Union.
Clause 2: Minor and consequential amendments
56 Clause 2 gives effect to Schedule 1 to the Bill which contains minor and consequential amendments, and Schedule 2 which makes transitional provisions.
Schedule 1: Minor and consequential amendments
57 Paragraphs 1 to 3 make changes to the Representation of the People Act 1983.
58 Paragraph 2 makes a consequential amendment to section 4 of the RPA 1983 (entitlement to be registered as parliamentary or local government elector). Section 4 (4)(b) makes a reference to a declaration made under section 2(1) of the RPA 1985 and as a consequence of the Bill has been substituted with a reference to section 1B(1) of the RPA 1985.
59 Paragraph 3 makes minor and consequential amendments to Schedule 2 to the Representation of the People Act 1983 (provisions which may be contained in regulations as to registration etc).
60 Subparagraphs (2) and (3) of paragraph 3 enable provision to be made in secondary legislation relating to renewal declarations and how these are to be transmitted to the registration officer. These replicate existing powers relating to overseas elector’s declarations contained in paragraph 3ZA of Schedule 2 to the RPA 1983.
61 Subparagraph (4) of paragraph 3 inserts subparagraph (1AA) into paragraph 5 of Schedule 2 to the RPA 1983. This enables provisions to be prescribed in regulations which authorise a registration officer to require other kinds of evidence that such an officer considers appropriate in support of an application for registration in pursuance of an overseas elector’s declaration. It also enables provisions to be prescribed in regulations authorising a registration officer to deem such other kinds of evidence as the officer considers appropriate to be sufficient or conclusive evidence for the purposes of determining whether a person satisfies the conditions to be an overseas elector.
62 Paragraph 4 amends section 12 of the RPA 1985 (offences as to declarations) so as to extend that offence to include renewal declarations.
63 Paragraph 5 makes consequential amendments to section 200(3) of the Finance Act 1996. Section 200(3)(a) makes a reference to a declaration in section 1(1)(a) of the RPA 1985 which as a consequence of the Bill is substituted with a reference to section 1(2)(a) of the RPA 1985.
64 Paragraph 6 makes consequential amendment to section 835B(3) of the Income Tax Act 2007. Section 835B(3)(a) makes a reference to a declaration in section 1(1)(a) of the RPA 1985 which as a consequence of the Bill is substituted with a reference to section 1(2)(a) of the RPA 1985.
65 Paragraph 7 omits section 42(7) of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 which is no longer required as the new section 1 of the RPA 1985 extends the franchise to a person who has been entered on a register of local government electors.
66 Paragraph 8 omits section 4(6) of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014 which is no longer required as the new section 1 of the RPA 1985 extends the franchise to a person who has been entered on a register of local government electors.
Schedule 2: Transitional Provision
67 Paragraph 1 defines the terms that are used in Schedule 2.
68 Paragraph 2 makes transitional provisions for applications made under section 2(1) of the RPA 1985 for registration in pursuance of an overseas elector’s declaration that were made before the Bill was commenced. This applies to applications which were determined after the commencement date provided the application was made before that date. For these applications, the amendments made by the Bill do not apply.
69 Paragraph 3 makes transitional provisions for overseas electors who were registered in respect of an application made before the commencement of the Bill. In these cases, the person is treated after the commencement of the Bill as if they had been registered on the basis of satisfying the previous registration condition within the meaning of section 1A(2) of the RPA 1985, as substituted by section 1(1) of the Bill. Subparagraph (2)(c) enables such persons to renew their applications in accordance with new sections 1D and 1E of the Bill.
70 Paragraph 4 enables the Minister to make regulations to supplement the transitional provisions set out in Schedule 2 to the Bill. The regulations may make supplementary or incidental provision, and may make different provision for different purposes or areas. The regulations are to be made by statutory instrument under the negative resolution procedure.
Clause 3: Extent, Commencement, and short title
71 Clause 3 sets out the provisions relating to the extent, commencement and short title of the Bill Subsection (1) provides that any amendments or repeals made by this Bill to other legislation has the same extent as that legislation.
72 Subsection (2) makes provision for the Bill to come into force on such day or days as may be appointed by regulations made by the Minister for the Cabinet Office or the Secretary of State.
73 Subsection (3) requires the regulations made under subsection (2) to be made by statutory instrument.
74 Subsection (4) makes provision for individual clauses to come into force on different days for different purposes.
75 Subsection (5) brings this section into force on the day on which the Act is passed.
Subsection (6) cites the short title of the Act.