The Electoral Commission was established by Parliament as a body independent of Government. The Chair of the Electoral Commission and the other Electoral Commissioners are appointed by Her Majesty the Queen, following an Address from the House of Commons. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, as amended by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2009, provides for the Electoral Commission to have nine or ten Commissioners. The Commission comprises:
The current term of office of Rob Vincent, an ‘ordinary’ Commissioner, expires on 31 December 2019.
The Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission is required by section 3 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, as amended by the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009, to oversee the procedure for selecting candidates for appointment to the Electoral Commission. Under section 3(5A) of the Act, this duty encompasses the recommendation of candidates for re-appointment to the Electoral Commission. There is no presumption in the statute either for or against re-appointment.
Rob Vincent has served as an Electoral Commissioner since 1 January 2016. At its meeting on 18 March 2019, the Speaker’s Committee considered a written request from Sir John Holmes, Chair of the Electoral Commission, seeking Mr Vincent’s re-appointment for a second term, from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2023. In considering the question, the Committee had regard to the report on Mr Vincent’s effectiveness submitted by the Chair of the Electoral Commission. In particular, Sir John told the Committee that Mr Vincent had consistently achieved the objectives agreed with him since his appointment and that he had offered valuable contributions to the Board’s debates on strategy and resources. Sir John also noted Mr Vincent’s past experience as a Returning Officer in a local authority and the practical understanding of this work that he had been able to bring to Board meetings.
Having considered Sir John’s letter, the Committee concluded that it was content to recommend Mr Vincent for re-appointment, subject to the statutory consultation with the relevant party leaders.
Section 3(2)(b) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, as amended, also requires that the proposal to appoint (or re-appoint) a member of the Electoral Commission be the subject of consultation with the registered leader of each registered party to which two or more Members of the House of Commons then belong. The Speaker accordingly wrote to the leaders of the qualifying parties on 4 April 2019. No objections or concerns were received in response to the Speaker’s consultation.
Appointments to the Electoral Commission are made by Her Majesty on an Address from the House of Commons. The Speaker’s Committee commends the re-appointment of Rob Vincent to the House.
1 S1(3) of the 2000 Act as amended by s6 of the 2009 Act
2 The Speaker subsequently wrote to the Leader of Change UK on 25 April, following their official registration as a political party.
Published: 8 July 2019