some default text...

7 Sep 2015 : Column 169

7 Sep 2015 : Column 170

7 Sep 2015 : Column 171

Amendments made: 12, page 1, line 9, at end insert—

“and

(c) must not be 4 May 2017.”

Amendment 23, page 1, line 10, leave out subsections (4) and (5) and insert—

‘(4) The question that is to appear on the ballot papers is—

“Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

(5) The alternative answers to that question that are to appear on the ballot papers are—

“Remain a member of the European Union

Leave the European Union”.

(6) In Wales, there must also appear on the ballot papers—

(a) the following Welsh version of the question—

“A ddylai’r Deyrnas Unedig aros yn aelod o’r Undeb Ewropeaidd neu adael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd?” and

(b) the following Welsh versions of the alternative answers—

“Aros yn aelod o’r Undeb Ewropeaidd

Gadael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd”.”—(Mr Lidington.)

This amendment changes the English and Welsh versions of the referendum question in line with the advice of the Electoral Commission. It also puts the alternative answers to the question recommended by the Electoral Commission onto the face of the Bill.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 172

Amendment proposed: 16, page 1, line 14, at end insert—

‘(6) At least 10 weeks before the date on which the referendum is to be held the Government shall publish a White Paper outlining the terms of any renegotiation between the United Kingdom and the European Union and the consequences for the United Kingdom of leaving the European Union.”—

(Mr McFadden.)

This amendment requires the Government to produce a white paper on the results of the Government’s renegotiation with the EU and the consequences for Britain of leaving the EU.

The House divided:

Ayes 237, Noes 308.

Division No. 60]

[

12.14 am

AYES

Abrahams, Debbie

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blomfield, Paul

Boswell, Philip

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Bryant, Chris

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Butler, Dawn

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Douglas

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Coaker, Vernon

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, Rosie

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davies, Geraint

Docherty, Martin John

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donaldson, Stuart

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dowd, Peter

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Fellows, Marion

Ferrier, Margaret

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Foxcroft, Vicky

Gapes, Mike

Gethins, Stephen

Gibson, Patricia

Glindon, Mary

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Griffith, Nia

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harpham, Harry

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Hayman, Sue

Healey, rh John

Hendry, Drew

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollern, Kate

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kane, Mike

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

Lynch, Holly

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

Mc Nally, John

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McLaughlin, Anne

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Owen, Albert

Paisley, Ian

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Phillipson, Bridget

Powell, Lucy

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, Angus

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Salmond, rh Alex

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Simpson, David

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thompson, Owen

Thomson, Michelle

Thornberry, Emily

Turley, Anna

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, Valerie

Watson, Mr Tom

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Sammy

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Ayes:

Tom Blenkinsop

and

Nic Dakin

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donelan, Michelle

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Elliott, Tom

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Boris

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Kinahan, Danny

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spencer, Mark

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Margot James

and

George Hollingbery

Question accordingly negatived.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 173

7 Sep 2015 : Column 174

7 Sep 2015 : Column 175

7 Sep 2015 : Column 176

Clause 5

Gibraltar

Amendments made: 25, page 3, line 23, leave out from “existence” to end of line 24 and insert—

‘of

(a) section 4, or

(b) anything in any other provision of this Act which enables particular provision to be made under section 4,

and in this Act “Gibraltar conduct law” means any provision of law made in and for Gibraltar which corresponds to any provision that has been or could be made for any part of the United Kingdom by regulations under section 4.’

This amendment clarifies that the existence of the Minister’s powers to make regulations governing the conduct of the referendum does not affect the capacity of the Gibraltar legislature to make law governing the conduct of the referendum in Gibraltar.

Amendment 26, page 3, line 26, leave out “regulations made under such a power” and insert “Gibraltar conduct law”.—(Mr Lidington.)

This amendment confirms that the relationship between the Bill (and any regulations made under the Bill that extend to Gibraltar) and any Gibraltar law about the conduct of the referendum will be governed by the usual rules about laws extending to Gibraltar.

Clause 6

Regulations

Amendments made: 27, page 3, line 35, leave out subsection (3) and insert—

‘(3) Subsection (2) does not apply to a statutory instrument containing only regulations within subsection (3A).

(3A) Regulations within this subsection are any of the following—

(a) regulations under section10;

(b) regulations under paragraph 6C of Schedule1;

(c) regulations made by the Minister under paragraph 12 of Schedule3.

(3B) A statutory instrument containing only regulations under paragraph 6C of Schedule 1 (or only such regulations and other regulations within subsection (3A)) is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.’

This amendment ensures that regulations that only prescribe the start of the period for applications under the 2000 Act for designation as a lead campaigner are subject to the negative resolution procedure.

Amendment 28, page 3, line 40, at end insert—

‘( ) Section 26 of the Welsh Language Act 1993 (power to prescribe Welsh forms) applies in relation to regulations under this Act as it applies in relation to Acts of Parliament.’— (Mr Lidington.)

The effect of this amendment is that if a statutory instrument is made prescribing Welsh forms for use in the referendum under the powers in the Welsh Language Act 1993, the instrument will only need to be laid before Parliament after being made.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 177

Clause 8

Definitions

Amendments made: 29, page 4, line 32, at end insert—

‘“Gibraltar conduct law” has the meaning given by section5(2);’

This amendment inserts a definition of “Gibraltar conduct law” into the list of defined terms for the Bill.

Amendment 30, page 4, line 45, at end insert—

“registered party” and “minor party” have the same meaning as in the 2000 Act (see section 160(1) of that Act);’—(Mr Lidington.)

This amendment adds definitions of “registered party” and “minor party” to the Bill. The definitions are the same as those used in the 2000 Act.

Schedule 1

Campaigning and financial controls

Amendments made: 31, page 6, line 21, leave out “(b) to (g)” insert “(b) and (d) to (g)”

This amendment ensures that registered Gibraltar political parties are not covered by more than one provision of section 105 of the 2000 Act (which sets out who are permitted participants for the purposes of the referendum).

Amendment 32, page 8, line 36, leave out sub-paragraph (6) and insert—

‘(6) In this paragraph “treasurer” has the same meaning as in the 2000 Act (see 160(1) of that Act), and section 25(6) of that Act (references to the treasurer to be read in certain cases as references to the campaigns officer) applies for the purposes of this paragraph as it applies for the purposes of Part 7 of that Act.’

This amendment ensures that campaign officers for registered political parties cannot be responsible for compliance for two or more permitted participants.

Amendment 33, page 8, line 37, at end insert—

‘Unincorporated associations with offensive etc names

6A (1) This paragraph applies to a notification which, in relation to the referendum, is given to the Electoral Commission under section 106(3) of the 2000 Act by an unincorporated association falling within section 54(2)(h) or 54(2A)(g) of that Act.

(2) A notification to which this paragraph applies is not to be treated for the purposes of section 105 or 107 of the 2000 Act as having been given unless the Electoral Commission have accepted the notification.

(3) As soon as reasonably practicable after receiving a notification to which this paragraph applies the Electoral Commission must decide whether or not to accept the notification, and they must accept it unless in their opinion the name of the association—

(a) is obscene or offensive, or

(b) includes words the publication of which would be likely to amount to the commission of an offence.

(4) As soon as reasonably practicable after deciding whether to accept the notification the Electoral Commission must give written notice to the association—

(a) stating whether they accept the notification, and

(b) if their decision is not to accept the notification, giving the reasons for that decision.

6B (1) Where—

(a) a permitted participant is an unincorporated association falling within section 54(2)(h) or 54(2A)(g) of the 2000 Act,

(b) the Electoral Commission is notified under section 106(5) of that Act of a change of name of the association, and

7 Sep 2015 : Column 178

(c) in the opinion of the Electoral Commission the new name is obscene or offensive or includes words the publication of which would be likely to amount to the commission of an offence,

the Electoral Commission does not have to enter the new name in the register under section 107 of that Act.

(2) If the Electoral Commission decide under this paragraph not to enter the new name of an unincorporated association in that register, the Electoral Commission—

(a) must as soon as reasonably practicable give written notice to the association of that decision and the reasons for it, and

(b) in any case where they are required to make available for public inspection a document that uses the association’s new name, may replace that name in the document with the name that appears on the register in respect of the association.

(3) The fact that the association’s new name is not entered in the register does not cause the association to cease to be a permitted participant.’

This amendment enables the Electoral Commission to reject a permitted participant notification given by an unincorporated association with an obscene, offensive or criminal name or a change of name notification given by an unincorporated association that is a permitted participant if the new name is obscene, offensive or criminal.

Amendment 34, page 8, line 37, at end insert—

‘Applying to become a designated organisation: period for making application

6C Subsections (2), (3) and (6) of section 109 of the 2000 Act (application by organisation for designation) have effect for the purposes of the referendum as if the reference in subsection (2)(b) of that section to the first day of the referendum period were a reference to the day prescribed under this paragraph by regulations made by the Minister.’

This amendment enables the start of the period for applications under section 109 of the 2000 Act for designation as a lead campaigner under section 108 of that Act to be prescribed in regulations made by the Minister.

Amendment 35, page 9, line 11, after first “of” insert “Gibraltar”

This amendment inserts a reference to “Gibraltar public funds” into a provision that allows designated organisations to hold public referendum meetings in schools wholly or partly funded out of Gibraltar public funds.

Amendment 36, page 9, line 12, at end insert—

‘( ) Paragraph 2 has effect for those purposes as if after sub-paragraph (7) there were inserted—

(7A) A reference in this paragraph to an expense being payable out of “Gibraltar public funds” is to the expense being payable by means of—

(a) payments out of—

(i) the Gibraltar consolidated fund, or

(ii) monies voted by the Gibraltar Parliament, or

(b) payments by the Government of Gibraltar or any Gibraltar government department.’

This amendment sets out the meaning of references to expenses being payable out of “Gibraltar public funds” for the purposes of paragraph 2 of Schedule 12 to the 2000 Act.

Amendment 37, page 9, line 20, leave out sub-paragraph (5)

This amendment omits a provision that is no longer necessary as a consequence of Gibraltar public funds being defined.

Amendment 38, page 9, line 27, leave out sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) and insert—

‘(2) Regulations under section 4 may—

(a) confer functions on a referendum agent appointed under this paragraph;

7 Sep 2015 : Column 179

(b) make further provision (additional to the provision in paragraphs 10 and 11) in connection with referendum agents.’

This amendment removes the limitation that referendum agents have only the functions conferred on them by regulations under section 4 and so enables functions to be conferred on referendum agents by Gibraltar conduct law.

Amendment 39, page 10, line 32, at end insert—

‘12A (1) In section 117(5) of the 2000 Act (certain expenditure incurred before the referendum period treated as incurred during that period), the reference to any time before the beginning of the referendum period is to be read for the purposes of the referendum as including any time before the commencement of this Schedule.

(2) This paragraph has effect in relation to section 117(5) of the 2000 Act as it applies for the purposes of section 117 of that Act and as applied by any provision of that Act or of this Schedule.’

This amendment ensures that referendum expenses incurred before the commencement of Schedule 1 to the Bill are, for the purposes of the 2000 Act, treated in the same way as other expenses incurred before the beginning of the referendum period.

Amendment 40, page 11, line 16, leave out sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) and insert—

‘(2) The expenses mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(a) are to be treated for the purposes of—

(a) section 117 of the 2000 Act, and

(b) section 118 of and Schedule 14 to that Act,

as having also been incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of the other individual or body (or, as the case may be, each of the other individuals or bodies) mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(b)(ii); but this is subject to sub-paragraph (5).”’

This amendment has the effect that, where referendum expenses are incurred by two or more persons acting in concert, for the purposes of the provisions of the 2000 Act that impose restrictions on expenses, the expenses of each person are generally to be treated as also incurred by the others.

Amendment 41, page 11, line 28, leave out sub-paragraph (5) and insert—

‘(5) But if any of the individuals or bodies in question (“the persons involved”) is or becomes a designated organisation, the following referendum expenses are to be treated for the purposes of sections 117 and 118 of and Schedule 14 to the 2000 Act as having been incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of the designated body only—

(a) any referendum expenses incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of the designated organisation;

(b) where any of the other persons involved is a permitted participant, any referendum expenses incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of that permitted participant;

(c) where any of the other persons involved is an individual or body which is not a permitted participant but is below the expenses threshold, any referendum expenses incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of that individual or body.

(5A) For the purposes of this paragraph an individual or body is “below the expenses threshold” if the total of the referendum expenses incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of the individual or body does not exceed £10,000.’

This amendment ensures that where a person incurs referendum expenses while acting in concert with a designated organisation those expenses are treated as incurred by the designated organisation only. This does not apply if the person is not a permitted participant but exceeds the expenses threshold above which registration as a permitted participant is required.

Amendment 42, page 11, line 31, leave out sub-paragraphs (6) to (8) and insert—

7 Sep 2015 : Column 180

‘(6) For the purposes of this paragraph—

(a) section 112 of the 2000 Act (notional referendum expenses) applies as it applies for the purposes of Part 7 of that Act,

(b) section 113(3) of the 2000 Act (expenses incurred in contravention of section 113(1)) applies as it applies for the purposes of sections 117 to 123 of that Act, and

(c) subsections (5) and (6) of section 117 of the 2000 Act (certain expenditure incurred before the referendum period) apply as they apply for the purposes of that section.

(7) In this paragraph any reference to referendum expenses incurred by or on behalf of a designated organisation, or a permitted participant, during the referendum period includes referendum expenses incurred during that period before the person by or on whose behalf the expenses were incurred became a designated organisation or, as the case may be, permitted participant.’

This amendment ensures that, for the purposes of the provisions of the Bill about parties acting in concert, references to referendum expenses have the same meaning as in provisions of the 2000 Act relating to referendum expenses.

Amendment 43, page 11, line 39, at end insert—

‘14A (1) Section 120 of the 2000 Act (returns in respect of referendum expenses and donations) has effect for the purposes of the referendum with the following modifications (as well as with the modification in paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 2 to this Act).

(2) Subsection (2) has effect for the purposes of the referendum as if the “and” after paragraph (c) were omitted and as if after paragraph (c) there were inserted—

“(ca) a declaration under subsection (4A);

(cb) a declaration under subsection (4B); and”.

(3) Subsection (4) has effect for those purposes as if for “(2)” there were substituted “(2)(a) to (c)”.

(4) For the purposes of the referendum the following subsections are to be treated as inserted after subsection (4)—

(4A) For the purposes of subsection (2)(ca), a declaration under this subsection is a declaration of—

(a) whether there are any referendum expenses, incurred by or on behalf of an individual or body other than the permitted participant to which the return under this section relates, that must under paragraph 14 of Schedule1 to the European Union Referendum Act 2015 be treated as having been incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of the permitted participant; and

(b) if so, in the case of each individual or body concerned, its name and the amount of referendum expenses incurred by or on its behalf that must be treated as mentioned in paragraph (a).

(4B) For the purposes of subsection (2)(cb), a declaration under this subsection is a declaration of—

(a) whether there are any referendum expenses incurred by or on behalf of the permitted participant that must under paragraph 14 of Schedule1 to the European Union Referendum Act 2015 be treated as having been incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of another individual or body; and

(b) if so, in the case of each such individual or body, its name and the amount of referendum expenses incurred by or on behalf of the permitted participant that must be treated as having been incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of that individual or body.

(4C) The reference in subsection (4B) to referendum expenses incurred by or on behalf of the permitted participant includes referendum expenses incurred before the person by or on whose behalf the expenses were incurred became a permitted participant.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 181

(4D) Any reference in subsection (4A) or (4B) to referendum expenses that must be treated under paragraph 14 of Schedule 1 to the European Union Referendum Act 2015 as having been incurred during the referendum period by or on behalf of a particular person includes—

(a) referendum expenses that under that paragraph must be treated as having been incurred by or on behalf of that person only; and

(b) referendum expenses that, under that paragraph, must be treated as having also been incurred by or on behalf of that person.

(4E) Any reference in subsection (4A)(b) or (4B)(b) to the name of an individual or body is to be read, where the individual or body is a permitted participant, as a reference to the name under which that permitted participant is registered in the register under section 107.”’

This amendment requires a permitted participant to include in its referendum expenses return declarations as to expenses treated under the Bill as having been incurred by the permitted participant or as having been incurred by another individual or body.

Amendment 44, page 12, line 23, at end insert—

‘Permissible donors: donations to registered parties other than minor parties

16A (1) This paragraph applies in relation to a donation received by a permitted participant if—

(a) the permitted participant is a registered party that is not a minor party,

(b) the donation is received from a person (“the donor”) who in relation to that donation is not a permissible donor for the purposes of Part 4 of the 2000 Act by virtue of section 54 of that Act,

(c) the donor is a person within sub-paragraph (3), and

(d) the donation is received by the party within the referendum period.

(2) In relation to that donation, the donor is to be regarded for the purposes of Part 4 of the 2000 Act as a permissible donor.

(3) The persons within this sub-paragraph are—

(a) a Gibraltar elector;

(b) a body falling within any of paragraphs (b) to (g) of section 54(2A) of the 2000 Act;

(c) a body incorporated by Royal Charter which does not fall within section 54(2) of that Act;

(d) a charitable incorporated organisation within the meaning of Part 11 of the Charities Act 2011 or Part 11 of the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008;

(e) a Scottish charitable incorporated organisation within the meaning of Chapter 7 of Part 1 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (asp 10);

(f) a partnership constituted under the law of Scotland which carries on business in the United Kingdom.

(4) In this paragraph—

(a) “donation” has the same meaning as in section 54 of the 2000 Act (see section 50 of that Act);

(b) “Gibraltar elector” has the same meaning as in the 2000 Act (see section 160(1) of that Act).

16B Where paragraph 16A applies in relation to a donation received by a permitted participant, paragraph 2 of Schedule 6 to the 2000 Act (details to be given in donation reports) has effect as if—

(a) in sub-paragraph (1)(a) for “(10)” there were substituted “(10C)”, and

(b) the following sub-paragraphs were inserted after sub-paragraph (10)—

“(10A) In the case of a body within paragraph 16A(3)(c) of Schedule 1 to the European Union Referendum Act 2015 (body incorporated by Royal Charter) the report must give—

(a) the name of the body; and

(b) the address of its main office in the United Kingdom.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 182

(10B) In the case of a body within paragraph 16A(3)(d) or (e) of that Schedule (charitable incorporated organisation) the report must give—

(a) the name of the body; and

(b) the address of its principal office.

(10C) In the case of a body within paragraph 16A(3)(f) of that Schedule (Scottish partnership) the report must give—

(a) the name of the body; and

(b) the address of its main office in the United Kingdom.”’

This amendment ensures that registered political parties (other than minor parties) that are permitted participants are able to receive donations from Gibraltar electors and bodies, Royal Charter bodies, charitable incorporated organisations and Scottish partnerships. This brings the rules for such parties into line with other permitted participants.

Amendment 45, page 12, line 24, at end insert—

‘16C (1) Paragraph 1 of Schedule 15 to the 2000 Act (control of donations to permitted participants: operation and interpretation of Schedule) has effect for the purposes of the referendum as if the following sub-paragraphs were substituted for sub-paragraph (6)—

(6) In relation to donations received by a permitted participant other than a designated organisation—

(a) references to a permissible donor falling within section 54(2), and

(b) references to a person within paragraph 6(1A) of this Schedule,

do not include a registered party and do not include a political party which is not a registered party but is established in Gibraltar.

In this sub-paragraph “designated organisation” has the meaning given by section 110(5).

(7) Sub-paragraph (6) applies also to references to a permissible donor, and references to a person within paragraph 6(1A) of this Schedule, in sections 56 and 61 as applied by paragraphs 7 and 8 of this Schedule.”’

This amendment ensures that Gibraltar political parties that are not registered under Part 2 of the 2000 Act may not make donations to permitted participants, except designated organisations. This brings the position of unregistered Gibraltar parties into line with registered parties.

Amendment 46, page 13, line 11, at end insert—

‘( ) For the purposes of the referendum the following sub-paragraph is to be treated as inserted after sub-paragraph (8)—

(9) In relation to a relevant donation in the form of a bequest sub-paragraph (1A)(a) is to be read as referring to an individual who was, at any time within the period of five years ending with the date of the individual’s death, a Gibraltar elector.”’

This amendment ensures that donations to permitted participants in the form of beq uests from individuals who were, at any time in the five years preceding their death, registered in the Gibraltar register are treated as donations from permissible donors. This matches the position as regards bequests from individuals who were registered in a UK electoral register.

Amendment 47, page 13, line 18, at end insert—

‘Evasion of restrictions on donations

18A Paragraph 8 of Schedule 15 to the 2000 Act (application of section 61 of the 2000 Act) has effect for the purposes of the referendum as if for paragraph (c) (and the “and” preceding it) there were substituted—

“(c) any reference to a permissible donor included a person within paragraph 6(1A) above; and

(d) any reference to the treasurer of a registered party were, in relation to a permitted participant, a reference to the responsible person.’

7 Sep 2015 : Column 183

This amendment has the effect that arrangements for facilitating the making of donations to permitted participants by persons who are permitted to make the donations are not unlawful.

Amendment 48, page 16, line 26, at end insert—

‘(11) In—

(a) section 113(3) (treatment of expenses incurred in contravention of section 113(1)), and

(b) section 118(4) and (5) (treatment of certain expenses incurred before referendum period or before becoming permitted participant),

the references to, respectively, sections 117 to 123 and sections 120 to 123 include references to this section.’

This amendment ensures that in the new section 124A treated as inserted in the 2000 Act by the Bill, references to referendum expenses incurred by a permitted participant during the referendum period will be construed consistently with references in section 120 of that Act.

Amendment 49, page 16, line 26, at end insert—

‘(2) Nothing in subsection (10) of the section treated as inserted by this paragraph (read with section 9 of this Act) is to be taken to mean that Schedule 19C to the 2000 Act extends or applies to Gibraltar for the purposes of the referendum.’

This amendment makes clear that Schedule 19C to the 2000 Act does not extend or apply to Gibraltar (despite that Schedule being referred to in a provision that extends to Gibraltar).

Amendment 50, page 16, line 27, at end insert—

‘( ) In this paragraph references to a permitted participant are to a permitted participant which either is not a registered party or is a minor party.’

This amendment ensures that the requirement that permitted participants report donations during the referendum period does not apply to registered parties (other than minor parties). Registered parties (other than minor parties) are subject to separate donation reporting requirements under the 2000 Act.

Amendment 51, page 18, line 16, leave out sub-paragraph (14) and insert—

‘(14) Section 161 of the 2000 Act (interpretation: donations) applies for the purposes of this paragraph as it applies for the purposes of the provisions of that Act relating to donations.’

This amendment ensures that the provisions of the Bill relating to the reporting of donations during the referendum period will be construed in accordance with all of the relevant provisions in the 2000 Act about the interpretation of references to donations.

Amendment 52, page 19, line 21, at end insert—

‘25A Section 149(2) to (5) and (7) of the 2000 Act (inspection of Commission’s documents) apply in relation to reports and documents which the Electoral Commission are required to make available for public inspection under paragraph 25 as they apply to the documents which the Electoral Commission are required to make available for public inspection by virtue of the provisions of the 2000 Act mentioned in section 149(6) of that Act.’

This amendment ensures that provisions in the 2000 Act about inspection of registers and documents kept by the Electoral Commission apply to permitted participants’ donations reports delivered to the Commission, and available for public inspection, under Schedule 1 to the Bill.

Amendment 54, page 20, line 5, at end insert—

‘( ) In section 148 of the 2000 Act (general offences), the references in each of subsections (1) to (3) to any of the provisions of that Act include any of the provisions of this Schedule.’

This amendment ensures that the offences in section 148 of the 2000 Act, which include failure to supply information required for the purposes of that Act, apply also where information is required for the purposes of Schedule 1 to the Bill.

Amendment 55, page 20, line 10, leave out sub-paragraphs (3) and (4) and insert—

7 Sep 2015 : Column 184

‘(3) In paragraphs 3 to 5 of Schedule 19B to the 2000 Act (powers of Electoral Commission in relation to suspected offences or contraventions)—

(a) the references to an offence under that Act include an offence under this Schedule, and

(b) the references to a restriction or other requirement imposed by or by virtue of that Act include a requirement or restriction imposed by or by virtue of this Schedule.

(4) Schedule 19C to the 2000 Act (civil sanctions), and any order under Part 5 of that Schedule, have effect as if any reference in that Schedule to an offence under the 2000 Act, or to a prescribed offence under that Act, included a reference to an offence under paragraph 23(9) of this Schedule.

(5) Nothing in sub-paragraph (3) or (4) (read with section 9) is to be taken to mean that Schedule 19B or 19C of the 2000 Act extends or applies to Gibraltar for the purposes of the referendum.’—(Mr Lidington.)

This amendment ensures that the Electoral Commission’s investigatory powers apply to contraventions under Schedule 1, that the Electoral Commission may impose civil penalties for an offence of failing to report donations, and that Schedules 19B and 19C to the 2000 Act do not extend or apply to Gibraltar.

Schedule 2

Control of loans etc to permitted participants

Amendments made: 56, page 23, line 21, leave out from “organisation,” to end of line 23 and insert—

‘references in this Schedule to a qualifying person do not include—

(a) a registered party, or

(b) a political party which is not a registered party but is established in Gibraltar,

and sub-paragraph (2)(a) and (c) have effect subject to this sub-paragraph.’

This amendment ensures that Gibraltar political parties that are not registered under Part 2 of the 2000 Act may not enter into loans or other regulated transactions with permitted participants, except designated organisations. This brings the position of unregistered Gibraltar parties into line with registered parties.

Amendment 57, page 28, line 36, at end insert—

‘(2) A reference in paragraph 8 or 9 to entering into a regulated transaction of a description mentioned in paragraph 2(1) or (2) to which a non-qualifying person is also a party includes receiving an amount of money under a regulated transaction of a description mentioned in paragraph 2(1) or (2) at a time when a person who is also a party to the transaction (and who was a qualifying person when the transaction was entered into) has ceased to be a qualifying person.

(3) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under paragraph 8 by virtue of sub-paragraph (2) to prove that the person took all reasonable steps, as soon as practicable, to repay the money received as mentioned in sub-paragraph (2).

(4) Where a person is charged with an offence under paragraph 8(3) by virtue of sub-paragraph (2), paragraph 8(4) does not apply.

(5) In relation to a case where paragraph 9(1)(a) to (c), (2)(a) to (c) or (3)(a) to (c) apply by reason of sub-paragraph (2), the reference in paragraph 9(1)(d), (2)(d) or (3)(d) to any money received by virtue of the transaction is to be read as a reference to any money so received after the party in question ceased to be a qualifying person.’

This amendment ensures that it is an offence for a permitted participant knowingly to receive money under a loan or other regulated transaction from a person who has ceased to be a qualifying person, or to fail to repay money received under a loan or other regulated transaction from a person who has ceased to be a qualifying person after becoming aware that person has so ceased.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 185

Amendment 58, page 30, line 33, leave out “any” and insert—

‘the modifications mentioned in sub-paragraph (1A) and any other’.

This amendment introduces a modification of a provision of the 2000 Act specifying information that must be included in statements of regulated transactions submitted to the Electoral Commission by permitted participants.

Amendment 59, page 30, line 34, at end insert—

‘(1A) In relation to the statement—

(a) paragraph 5(4) of Schedule 6A has effect as if the reference to the relevant date for the transaction determined in accordance with paragraph 8 of that Schedule were a reference to the relevant date for the transaction determined in accordance with paragraph 8(1) of that Schedule, and

(b) paragraph 8(1) of that Schedule has effect as if—

(i) the reference to a quarterly report were a reference to the statement,

(ii) the reference to section 71M(4)(a) or (7)(a) were a reference to paragraph 15(3)(a) of this Schedule, and

(iii) the reference to section 71M(4)(b) or (7)(b) were a reference to paragraph 15(3)(b) of this Schedule.’

This amendment modifies a provision of the 2000 Act requiring the relevant date of transactions to be included in statements of regulated transactions submitted by permitted participants to ensure that the provision applies as intended to transactions regulated by new Schedule 15A to the 2000 Act inserted by Schedule 2 to the Bill.

Amendment 60, page 33, line 39, at end insert—

‘(5A) Paragraph 1 of Schedule 19A to the 2000 Act (requirement to notify Commission of certain political contributions) has effect in relation to the referendum as if—

(a) in sub-paragraph (2) after paragraph (f) there were inserted—

(fa) it makes a loan of money to a permitted participant, or discharges (to any extent) a liability of a permitted participant, in pursuance of a regulated transaction (within the meaning of Schedule 15A);”, and

(b) in sub-paragraph (5)(e) for “sub-paragraph (2)(b) or (d)” there were substituted “sub-paragraph (2)(b), (d) or (fa)”.’

This amendment ensures that loans to, or discharges of liability of, permitted participants by unincorporated associations are treated as political contributions for the purposes of the provisions of the 2000 Act that require unincorporated associations to report to the Electoral Commission certain political contributions they make and, where they make such contributions, certain gifts they receive.

Amendment 61, page 33, line 43, at end insert—

‘( ) Nothing in sub-paragraph (5A) or (6) (read with section 9) is to be taken to mean that Schedule 19A or 19C of the 2000 Act extends or applies to Gibraltar for the purposes of the referendum.’

This amendment makes clear that Schedules 19A and 19C to the 2000 Act do not extend or apply to Gibraltar (despite those Schedules being referred to in a provision that extends to Gibraltar).

Amendment 62, page 33, line 45, leave out paragraph 3 and insert—

‘3 (1) In this paragraph and paragraph 3A “Schedule 15A” means the Schedule treated as inserted by paragraph 1.

(2) The following provisions of Schedule 15A—

(a) paragraphs 1 and 3, and

(b) Parts 4 and 5, except paragraph 17(b),

apply to a relevant varied transaction as they apply to a regulated transaction within the meaning of Schedule 15A.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 186

(3) Accordingly, any reference to a regulated transaction in a provision of the 2000 Act modified by paragraph 2 of this Schedule includes a relevant varied transaction.

(4) For the purposes of this paragraph and paragraph 3A a transaction is a “relevant varied transaction” if—

(a) the transaction was entered into, before or after the commencement of this Schedule, by a person who after entering into the transaction became a permitted participant,

(b) the transaction would have been a regulated transaction within the meaning given by paragraph 2 of Schedule 15A if at the time when that person entered into the transaction—

(i) that person had been a permitted participant, and

(ii) the use condition mentioned in paragraph 2(5) of Schedule 15A had been satisfied (if it was not in fact satisfied at the time the transaction was entered into),

(c) at a time after the commencement of this Schedule, and after that person became a permitted participant, the terms of that transaction were varied so as to increase the amount of money or benefit to which the permitted participant is entitled in consequence of the transaction, and

(d) at the time of that variation, the permitted participant intends to use any money or benefit obtained in consequence of the transaction for meeting referendum expenses incurred by or on behalf of the permitted participant.

(5) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (4)(d) it is immaterial whether only part of the money or benefit is intended to be used as mentioned there.

(6) In this paragraph “permitted participant” has the same meaning as it has in Schedule 15A (see paragraph 1(2) of that Schedule).

(7) In sub-paragraph (4)—

(a) the reference in paragraph (a) to a person who after entering into the transaction became a permitted participant includes an officer, member, trustee or agent of any such person, and

(b) in relation to a case where such an officer, member, trustee or agent entered into the transaction, the references in paragraphs (b)(i) and (c) to “that person” are to be read as references to the person for whom the person who entered into the agreement is an officer, member, trustee or agent.

3A Paragraphs 4 to 7 and Part 3 of Schedule 15A do not apply to a relevant varied transaction (or to any other transaction which was entered into before the commencement of this Schedule or before a party to the transaction became a permitted participant).’

This amendment provides for the reporting requirements of new Schedule 15A to the 2000 Act to apply to certain transactions entered into before a person becomes a permitted participant that are varied after they become a permitted participant to increase the amount of money under the transaction.

Amendment 63, page 34, line 8, at end insert—

‘( ) In this paragraph references to a permitted participant are to a permitted participant which either is not a registered party or is a minor party.’

This amendment ensures that the requirement that permitted participants report loans and other regulated transactions during the referendum period does not apply to registered parties (other than minor parties). Registered parties (other than minor parties) are subject to separate? requirements to report ?loans and other regulated transactions? ?under the 2000 Act.

Amendment 64, page 37, line 7, at end insert—

‘6A Section 149(2) to (5) and (7) of the 2000 Act (inspection of Commission’s documents) apply in relation to reports and documents which the Electoral Commission are required to make available for public inspection under paragraph 6 as they

7 Sep 2015 : Column 187

apply to the documents which the Electoral Commission are required to make available for public inspection by virtue of the provisions of the 2000 Act mentioned in section 149(6) of that Act.’

This amendment ensures that provisions in the 2000 Act about inspection of registers and documents kept by the Electoral Commission apply to permitted participants’ regulated transaction reports delivered to the Commission, and available for public inspection, under Schedule 2 to the Bill.

Amendment 65, page 37, line 12, at end insert—

‘( ) In section 148 of the 2000 Act (general offences), the references in each of subsections (1) to (3) to any of the provisions of that Act include any of the provisions of this Schedule.’

This amendment ensures that the offences in section 148 of the 2000 Act, which include failure to supply information required for the purposes of that Act, apply also where information is required for the purposes of Schedule 2 to the Bill.

Amendment 66, page 37, line 17, leave out sub-paragraphs (3) and (4) and insert—

‘(3) In paragraphs 3 to 5 of Schedule 19B to the 2000 Act (powers of Electoral Commission in relation to suspected offences or contraventions)—

(a) the references to an offence under that Act include an offence under this Schedule, and

(b) the references to a restriction or other requirement imposed by or by virtue of that Act include a requirement or restriction imposed by or by virtue of this Schedule.

(4) Schedule 19C to the 2000 Act (civil sanctions), and any order under Part 5 of that Schedule, have effect as if any reference in that Schedule to an offence under the 2000 Act, or to a prescribed offence under that Act, included a reference to an offence under paragraph 4(9) of this Schedule.

(5) Nothing in sub-paragraph (3) or (4) (read with section 9) is to be taken to mean that Schedule 19B or 19C of the 2000 Act extends or applies to Gibraltar for the purposes of the referendum.’—(Mr Lidington.)

This amendment ensures that the Electoral Commission’s investigatory powers apply to contraventions under Schedule 2, that the Electoral Commission may impose civil penalties for an offence of failing to report certain transactions and that Schedules 19B and 19C to the 2000 Act do not extend or apply to Gibraltar.

Schedule 3

Further provision about the referendum

Amendments made: 67, page 37, line 24, at end insert—

‘Interpretation

A1 In this Schedule a reference to functions includes functions conferred by any provision of law made in and for Gibraltar.’

This amendment makes it clear that a reference to a function in Schedule 3 includes functions under Gibraltar law (as well as functions under the law of the United Kingdom).

Amendment 68, page 39, line 1, at end insert “and Gibraltar”

This amendment renames (for the purposes of the referendum) the South West region as the South West and Gibraltar region.

Amendment 69, page 39, line 6, leave out sub-paragraph (2) and insert—

‘(2) Where—

(a) a region mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) (a “listed region”), and

(b) a region mentioned in the Table in Schedule 1 to the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002 (an “electoral region”),

have the same name, the listed region comprises the areas specified in relation to that electoral region in that Table as they are for the time being.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 188

(3) The South West and Gibraltar region mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) comprises the areas specified in relation to the South West region in that Table as they are for the time being.

(4) In determining for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2) or (3) what the areas are that are specified in that Table, paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 1 to the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002 is to be ignored.’

This amendment renames (for the purposes of the referendum) the South West region as the South West and Gibraltar region.

Amendment 70, page 39, line 34, at end insert “and Gibraltar”

This amendment renames (for the purposes of the referendum) the South West region as the South West and Gibraltar region.

Amendment 71, page 39, line 37, at end insert—

‘as counting officer or as Regional Counting Officer (as the case may be)’.

This amendment makes it clear that the duty of the Government of Gibraltar under this paragraph to provide officers to assist the Clerk to the Gibraltar Parliament is limited to assistance in carrying out his functions as counting officer (and not in carrying out his wider functions).

Amendment 72, page 39, line 44, leave out “provided by and under this Act” and insert—

‘provided—

(a) by and under this Act, and

(b) in the case of the Chief Counting Officer, the Regional Counting Officer (if any) appointed for the South West and Gibraltar region and the counting officer for the Gibraltar voting area, by Gibraltar conduct law.’

This amendment ensures that the Chief Counting Officer, Regional Counting Officer for the South West and Gibraltar Region and counting officer for the Gibraltar voting area must do whatever is necessary to conduct the referendum in accordance with Gibraltar conduct law (as well as in accordance with the Act and regulations made under the Act).

Amendment 73, page 40, line 8, after “regulations” insert—

‘or Gibraltar conduct law (as the case may be)’.

This amendment ensures that the counting officer for the Gibraltar voting area is responsible for any matters specified in Gibraltar conduct law (as well as any matters specified in conduct regulations made by a UK Minister that extend to Gibraltar).

Amendment 74, page 41, leave out lines 19 to 36 and insert—

‘(b) is not in accordance with any requirements applicable to the referendum imposed as described in sub-paragraph (4) or otherwise.

(2) A re-count of votes in reliance on sub-paragraph (1) may only be conducted in the circumstances (if any) specified in conduct regulations or Gibraltar conduct law (as the case may be).

(3) For the purposes of this paragraph each of the following is a “relevant person”—

(a) a registration officer;

(b) the European electoral registration officer for Gibraltar (within the meaning of section 14 of the European Parliament (Representation) Act 2003);

(c) a clerk of, or a person providing goods or services to, the Regional Counting Officer or the counting officer;

(d) any person designated by conduct regulations or Gibraltar conduct law as a relevant person for the purposes of this sub-paragraph;

(e) a deputy or assistant of—

(i) the Regional Counting Officer or the counting officer, or

(ii) a person mentioned in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d).

7 Sep 2015 : Column 189

(4) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1)(b) requirements are imposed as described in this sub-paragraph if they are imposed—

(a) by or under this Act, or

(b) in the case of the Regional Counting Officer (if any) appointed for the South West and Gibraltar region, the counting officer for the Gibraltar voting area or a Gibraltar relevant person, by any provision of law made in and for Gibraltar.

(5) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (4)(b) each of the following relevant persons is a “Gibraltar relevant person”—

(a) the European electoral registration officer for Gibraltar (within the meaning of section 14 of the European Parliament (Representation) Act 2003);

(b) a clerk of the Regional Counting Officer (if any) appointed for the South West and Gibraltar region;

(c) a person providing goods or services to the Regional Counting Officer (if any) appointed for the South West and Gibraltar region or to the counting officer for the Gibraltar voting area;

(d) any person designated by conduct regulations or Gibraltar conduct law as a relevant person for the purposes of this sub-paragraph;

(e) a deputy or assistant of—

(i) the Regional Counting Officer (if any) appointed for the South West and Gibraltar region or the counting officer for the Gibraltar voting area, or

(ii) a person mentioned in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d).

(6) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (3)(e) and (5)(e) a person (“A”) is an assistant of another person (“P”) if—

(a) A is appointed to assist P, or

(b) in the course of employment A is assisting P,

in connection with any function in relation to the referendum.’

This amendment ensures that paragraph 8 of Schedule 3 to the Bill (correction of procedural errors by Regional Counting Officers and counting officers) works as intended in Gibraltar.

Amendment 75, page 41, line 38, after “Act” insert “or Gibraltar conduct law”.

This amendment ensures that the requirements which are set out about how public notices must be given also apply to public notices which are required by Gibraltar conduct law.

Amendment 76, page 42, line 12, leave out sub-paragraph (4) and insert—

‘(4) The reference in sub-paragraph (3) to those entitled to vote in the referendum who did so includes any persons entitled to vote who conduct regulations or Gibraltar conduct law provides are to be treated for the purposes of sub-paragraph (3) as having voted.’

This amendment recognises that Gibraltar conduct law (as well as conduct regulations made by a UK Minister) may specify who is to be treated as having voted in the referendum (for the purposes of the Electoral Commission publishing estimates of turnout for the referendum in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar).

Amendment 77, page 42, line 32, at end insert—

‘( ) A reference in this paragraph to “a registration officer” includes the European electoral registration officer for Gibraltar (within the meaning of section 14 of the European Parliament (Representation) Act 2003).’ —(Mr Lidington.)

This amendment ensures that the Gibraltar registration officer (like other registration officers) is required to take appropriate steps to encourage participation in the referendum.

12.28 am

More than six hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on consideration, the Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question necessary to bring proceedings to a conclusion (Programme Order, this day).

7 Sep 2015 : Column 190

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The House divided:

Ayes 316, Noes 53.

Division No. 61]

[

12.28 am

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, Heidi

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Anderson, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benn, rh Hilary

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burgon, Richard

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cadbury, Ruth

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crouch, Tracey

Dakin, Nic

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donelan, Michelle

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Elliott, Tom

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Glen, John

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hermon, Lady

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Boris

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Kinahan, Danny

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lucas, Caroline

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Mahmood, Shabana

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McPartland, Stephen

Mearns, Ian

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, Grahame M.

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Cat

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Smyth, Karin

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spencer, Mark

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Thornberry, Emily

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Watson, Mr Tom

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Ayes:

George Hollingbery

and

Margot James

NOES

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Arkless, Richard

Bardell, Hannah

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Boswell, Philip

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Chapman, Douglas

Cherry, Joanna

Cowan, Ronnie

Crawley, Angela

Docherty, Martin John

Donaldson, Stuart

Ferrier, Margaret

Gethins, Stephen

Gibson, Patricia

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Hendry, Drew

Hosie, Stewart

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Law, Chris

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mc Nally, John

McCaig, Callum

McDonald, Stewart

McDonald, Stuart C.

McGarry, Natalie

McLaughlin, Anne

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Mullin, Roger

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Oswald, Kirsten

Paterson, Steven

Robertson, Angus

Salmond, rh Alex

Sheppard, Tommy

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Stephens, Chris

Thewliss, Alison

Thomson, Michelle

Weir, Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Wilson, Corri

Tellers for the Noes:

Owen Thompson

and

Marion Fellows

Question accordingly agreed to.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 191

7 Sep 2015 : Column 192

Bill read the Third time and passed.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 193

Summer-born Children (Education Guidelines)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Sarah Newton.)

12.39 am

Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon) (Con): I want to extend my thanks to the Speaker for selecting me for this Adjournment debate, for even at this late hour the issue I intend to raise is highly important. I can tell the Minister that even at this late hour, although the Gallery may not be packed, a lot of people are watching this debate with real interest and have been waiting for his performance, and mine, for some hours now.

As with most Adjournment debates, the reason for applying for it started with issues raised by constituents. Their cases alone would have been enough for me to want hold the debate, but, as so often, when one starts to do one’s research one realises that something is not just a problem in one constituency but is a national issue. I recognise that others are pursuing similar campaigns. At the outset, I wish to recognise the excellent work of Bliss, the Too Much, Too Soon campaign, and the Summer Born campaign, as well as thousands of parents and colleagues, for I recognise that in raising this matter I follow in the footsteps of angels. I also want to praise the Department for Education and the Minister for the work they have already undertaken on this matter. The Minister will understand, however, that tonight I am going to try to persuade him to go a little further.

The definition of a summer-born child is one born between 1 April and 31 August. The issue, in essence, is that children must enter education by the September after their fifth birthday. So in a reception class starting on 1 September this year, there could be a child born on 2 September 2010 and a child born 11 months later at the end of August the following year. One might therefore expect a huge gulf to be seen in development—a fact that is consistently borne out by studies. It is well documented that summer-born children can suffer from long-term development issues and a lag in educational standards. A DFE study from last year showed that at the end of their first year children defined as summer-born were at a significant disadvantage in comparison with older children. The study shows that two thirds of those born between May and August fail to meet minimum expected standards in reading, writing, speaking, maths and other development skills, compared with slightly less than a third for those born between September and December.

That is understandably worrying for a parent of any child born in these months, but equally worrying is that, while intuitively one might expect this gap to decline as the child progresses through the education system, many studies show that children who are young for their year are typically still seeking to catch up at GCSE level and are less likely to go to university. In June this year, an article published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry confirmed the DFE study’s findings that younger children were twice as likely to have language and behavioural problems relative to their elder peers. Interestingly, since I spoke about this on the radio at lunchtime, a number of people have contacted my office.

It is noticeable also that Sutton Trust research shows that this issue affects not only the poorest areas in our society but some of the richest—it spreads across our

7 Sep 2015 : Column 194

society. As I am sure the Minister knows, it is not unknown for some summer-born children to be told that they have special needs. Moreover, the experience of being persistently outperformed by more developed or older children can lead to serious confidence and inferiority perceptions and bullying. Of course, all these risks are also faced by premature children who are encouraged to start school before they are ready.

This whole catalogue of issues and problems was personified for me in two constituency cases. In the first, a summer-born child entered into reception without any deferral, despite requests to our local council to repeat their nursery years. It became clear that the child needed longer to develop. Therefore, the parents, with the headteacher’s support, using the guidelines in place, applied for the child to repeat reception rather than move to year 1. The admissions manager repeatedly stressed that the guidelines were not statutory, but after pressure the request was eventually granted. However, the council has said that the guidelines are not statutory, and it is now telling the family that it may have to go through the whole deferral process again in year 5. The possible consequence is that the child may miss year 7 and go straight into a secondary school in year 8, rejoining their original age cohort.

The second constituency case was raised by Louise and Ian Hunter in relation to their son Hugh. Hugh was born extraordinarily premature, and has been the beneficiary of the neo-natal unit at St George’s hospital and all its excellent staff. Hugh would not have been ready to enter reception at age 4, so his parents sought to defer it to age 5. One might have thought from knowing the medical history that a letter from the parents would have formed the substantial part of an application to defer his education and that very little else would be required. However, yet again, the local council told the parents that the guidelines were non-statutory, and that there might be issues with other authorities if they chose to move house at some stage. Indeed, the local authority appeared to say that “non-statutory” means voluntary or optional. The local council tried to claim that it needed a precedent to be able to follow the guidelines or clear evidence that Hugh had special educational needs before it could authorise a deferral. Finally, after a lot of persuasion, notice was taken of the guidelines, but there was still confusion over the process. Hugh was lucky to benefit from having dedicated and conscientious parents, and 18 months after their original application to defer, the council agreed to their request.

For many years before the guidelines were published, the whole process was mired in even more difficulty and uncertainty, so the way that the DFE and Ministers have grasped this matter is entirely to their credit and is much welcomed. However, it is clear that this matter remains far too much of a lottery for many. The volume of emails I have received from people from around the country this afternoon, following my performance on “You and Yours” on Radio 4, shows that this concern is not confined to those two constituency cases.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): I sought the hon. Gentleman’s permission to intervene and thank him for giving way. As he will know, education is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland, but the issues in the cases that he outlines are also apparent in Northern Ireland. My concern regarding my constituents is that summer-born

7 Sep 2015 : Column 195

children are sometimes expected to be smarter than their younger counterparts. Has the hon. Gentleman experienced that on the mainland as well?

Stephen Hammond: I am unsure that I necessarily followed that exactly, but the hon. Gentleman, as ever, makes a clear point. I am sure that parents in Northern Ireland will be listening carefully.

Going back to my performance on “You and Yours” today, several people have emailed me since and I was particularly struck by a lady who contacted me to say that she had triplets born prematurely at 25 weeks. They should have been born on 1 November, but she was told by her local authority that if she delays their start to school, they will have to go into year 1 rather than reception. That is despite the fact that her children have been diagnosed by paediatricians as having additional needs and developmental delay. Another lady got in touch to tell me about her grandaughter who was born in August 2005 in Dublin. In Ireland, as the Minister will know, parents can choose when a child with an August birthday starts school, so the parents decided to delay her entry into reception. A few years later, it was necessary for the family to move to the UK, where the local authority has insisted that the child starts school with her chronological age group in year 5, thereby skipping year 4. That has caused huge distress and anxiety for the child. Practice differs across the country, but the guidelines are being followed inconsistently and it has become far too much of a lottery.

Steve Brine (Winchester) (Con): I spoke to my hon. Friend before the debate to say that I would intervene, and I thank him for giving way. My youngest son, William, started school today. He was born in November and my wife and I just know that he is ready to start school. Does my hon. Friend agree that the reason for such a response to his stellar performance on Radio 4 this lunchtime is that this is ultimately about parental choice? Parents know what is best for their children and want greater control over when their children enter the education system.

Stephen Hammond: I wholeheartedly concur. I am pleased to see from some comments that the Minister has made already that he, too, understands and accepts that point fully.

We must look at the practice in other countries. In the Netherlands, parents have the right to choose whether a child has one or two years at kindergarten. In the USA, study at kindergarten can be delayed to allow social, emotional, intellectual or physical growth. In some German states, all children are required to be assessed by a paediatrician or educational psychologist to check that they are ready for school. I am not suggesting that we implement all those practices, but it is clear that there is a recognition of these issues across a number of countries.

I have referred a number of times to the guidelines entitled “Advice on the admission of summer born children”, in which the Minister is well versed. I find it difficult to disagree with a statement that came from his Department earlier in the year, which stated:

“Our reforms are raising the quality of early years education”.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 196

It stated that there was

“a greater focus on the key skills children need for a good start in life.”

That is what the guidelines entail.

Paragraph 2.17 of the school admissions code states:

“Parents may seek a place for their child outside of their normal age group… In addition, the parents of a summer born child…may request that they are admitted out of their normal age group—to reception rather than year 1.”

It states that authorities must

“make decisions on the basis of the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child concerned”;

that they must

“take into account the views of the head teacher”;

and that they must inform the parent of their decision and

“set out clearly the reasons for their decision.”

Finally, it sets out that any application must be taken into account as part of the normal process and not be given a lower priority.

Those guidelines are a real step forward, but there is always a but. In this case, the but is not about the guidelines; there are issues with how the process is being operated in practice, there are concerns about the attitudes of a number of councils and there is a feeling among many parents that they are not getting a fair hearing or that the system is operating a postcode lottery.

Let me briefly set out the issues with current practice. First, although there is no statutory barrier to a child being admitted outside their normal age cohort, there is no right to insist or to appeal. Although the guidelines state that the rationale must be set out, they do not confer any extra rights. Secondly, some authorities allow delayed entry into education but then insist that the child begins in year 1, rather than in reception, thus removing all the hoped-for benefit of starting a year later. Thirdly, some authorities, as I pointed out when describing the case in my constituency, allow a child to defer entry at primary level but give no guarantee that the child will remain in that cohort post-primary school. Finally, there are any number of similar problems for the parents of premature and pre-term babies. Some local authorities take no account of prematurity or the due date.

The Education Committee noted in a report earlier this year that the number of cases where children were being delayed and then admitted into year 1 rather than into reception had increased and that there was an increase in the number of contentious cases.

Tonight, I ask the Minister for minor tweaks that I think would have a substantial impact on the lives of many children. I hope that those tweaks will address the issues that I have described. I know that the Minister has agreed to a review, so I ask him to look at revising the guidelines in three ways. First, I ask that the due date, rather than the birth date, of premature children be used in the definition or interpretation of compulsory school age. Secondly, I ask him to consider giving the parents of summer-born children an automatic right to defer, given that parents have the best feeling for when their children should enter education, with a similar provision for the parents of premature children. Finally,

7 Sep 2015 : Column 197

I ask him to ensure that once a deferral has been agreed, the child stays in the same educational cohort throughout their educational career.

If the Minister feels that that is a “perfect world”, that he cannot necessarily agree to all those suggestions, and that perhaps one would be a step too far—although I do not think they are—then surely the default position must be that the onus is placed on the council to prove why a request should not be granted. I hope the Minister will consider the three tweaks, which I regard as relatively minor. Like supporters of the Summer Born and Too Much, Too Soon campaigns, I have been hugely encouraged by the Minister’s interest in this issue. Tonight—or this morning—we have the chance, through those tweaks, to change many children’s lives for the better. I hope the Minister will agree, in his comments this morning, to look at those tweaks and to revise the guidelines accordingly. We have the chance to make a change that will be of benefit to so many children.

12.55 am

The Minister for Schools (Mr Nick Gibb): I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) on securing the debate, and on choosing such an apposite time of the day in which to have it. I also congratulate him on his very effective campaigning on this issue, both for his constituents—Hugh Hunter and his parents—and the other families he referred to. I congratulate him on the fight he has put up on their behalf, and on his campaign nationally on this very important issue. It is timely, as it allows me the opportunity to set out the Government’s position on summer-born children, and our intention to amend the school admissions code to ensure that summer-born children do not miss out on an important year of their education and schooling.

The statutory school admissions code currently requires admission authorities to provide for the admission to school of all children in the September following their fourth birthday. A child does not reach compulsory school age until on or after their fifth birthday. No parent, therefore, is obliged to send their child to school before that age is reached. Most parents are happy for their child to begin school at the age of four, but as we know, children develop at different rates, particularly in the early years. Some parents will therefore feel that their child is simply not ready to start school before compulsory school age. To allow for this, the admissions code makes it clear that parents can request that their child attend part time, or that their entry be delayed, until they reach compulsory school age.

Where parents of a summer-born child want that child to start school at the age of five, as the law allows them to, they will start school at the point when their peers are moving up from the reception class to year 1. If they want their child to be admitted to the reception class at this point, they must currently request that they be admitted outside of their normal age group. The admissions code requires the admission authority to then make a decision on the age group the child should be admitted to, based on the circumstances of the case and their best interests. In making that decision, the admission authority is required to take into account the views of the headteacher of the school—as my hon. Friend explained—as they are best placed to advise on the age group at their school in which the child’s needs can best be met. The code also makes it clear that

7 Sep 2015 : Column 198

admission authorities must take into account the wishes of parents, alongside other information relating to the child’s academic, social and emotional development.

This, however, is where problems seem to arise at a local level. The decision on what age group the child should be admitted to often seems to be problematic, with the parents and admission authority failing to agree on what is in the best interests of the child. I am concerned about the number of cases in which it appears that the wishes of parents are not being respected and children are being admitted to year 1, rather than the reception class, and are therefore missing out on the essential teaching of reading and arithmetic which takes place in the reception class.

We have always made it clear that there are no statutory barriers to admitting summer-born children to a reception class at the age of five. In July 2013, we published non-statutory advice to help admission authorities and parents understand the statutory framework within which decisions must be made, and to remove the misunderstandings that appeared to get in the way of admission authorities agreeing to parental requests. For example, it clarified that a school’s funding would not be affected if they admitted a child out of their normal age group, and this advice seemed to be successful at dispelling such misunderstandings, but unfortunately it did not result in a reduction in the number of problematic cases, or the number of parents whose wishes were overruled.

That is why last year we amended the admissions code to provide greater clarity about how such decisions should be made, and to improve transparency for parents. The code now makes it clear that the decision must be made in the best interests of the child. It also requires the admission authority to take account of the views of the headteacher of the school concerned, as they are best placed to advise on the age group at their school. The code requires the admission authority to publish the process for requesting admission out of the normal age group, and to set out the reasons for its decision in each case for the parents concerned. It also makes it clear that admission authorities should take into account the wishes of parents, alongside other information relating to the child’s development.

In spite of these changes and the additional non-statutory advice we have published alongside them, I am concerned about the number of cases in which it appears that children are still being admitted to year 1 against their parents’ wishes and are, as a consequence, missing out on that important reception year at school. I am also concerned that some children who are admitted outside of their normal year group are later expected to miss a year and move up against their wishes to join the other children of the same age range—a point referred to by my hon. Friend.

We have therefore decided it is necessary to amend the admissions code further to ensure that summer-born children can be admitted to reception at the age of five, if this is what their parents wish, and to ensure that those children are able to remain with that cohort as they progress through school. We have already begun the work necessary to implement the change. We will conduct a full public consultation in due course and, subject to parliamentary approval, we will introduce these further changes to ensure that no child is forced to start school before they are ready.

7 Sep 2015 : Column 199

Admission authorities may have been reluctant to agree to parental requests because they felt it would open the floodgates—that large numbers of parents of summer-born children would want them to be admitted outside their normal age group—and that, as a consequence, the admission system would become impossible to manage. I do not believe this to be true. The reception year of school is the final part of the early years foundation stage, and we know that most parents are happy for their child to go to school at this point, confident that they are ready for the challenge. We believe that only a small proportion of parents of summer-born children wish them to be admitted to reception at the age of five—for example, children born in the late summer

7 Sep 2015 : Column 200

months or born prematurely. On that point—the first of the three my hon. Friend made—I will further consider whether we can make changes in relation to the due date versus the birth date of prematurely born children.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this important issue. I hope he is happy to learn that we are taking action to address his concerns on the admission of summer-born children.

Question put and agreed to.

1.3 am

House adjourned.