1.The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:
The effect of the draft Regulations is to postpone the coming into force of the European Parliamentary Elections Etc. (Repeal, Revocation, Amendment and Saving Provisions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2018/1310) so that they come into force on 31 December 2020 instead of on exit day.
Explain why delaying commencement of SI 2018/1310 is appropriate in so far as it relates to the following provisions of that instrument:
(a) regulation 4, and Part 1 of Schedule 1, in so far as they repeal:
2.The instrument amends the European Parliamentary Elections Etc. (Repeal, Revocation, Amendment and Saving Provisions (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 (“the 2018 Regulations”) to provide for legislation relating to European Parliamentary elections to remain in place until 31 December 2020. We consider this will provide sufficient time for the necessary post-poll processes to be completed.
3.The Committee have identified certain provisions in the 2018 Regulations and have requested an explanation as to why it is appropriate to delay commencement of the repeal of those provisions until 31 December 2020.
4.We are aware the approach we have taken leaves provision on the statute book for a limited period that it is not solely linked to the holding of European Parliamentary elections. We carefully considered a number of approaches to keeping the legislation in force, and concluded our approach was the most appropriate option in the circumstances. Keeping the whole of the legislation in force, has the benefit of being clear and simple for electoral administrators to understand and implement. It also ensures all the necessary legislation stays in force minimising the risk of any adverse unintended consequences.
5.Most of the provisions in the 2018 Regulations only have practical effect in the context of the holding of a European Parliamentary election: absent such election being held, they are simply redundant. For example, the provisions identified relating to Gibraltar contained in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, only apply to political parties established in Gibraltar and registered in the United Kingdom with the Electoral Commission for the purposes of contesting European Parliamentary elections in the South West combined region.
6.Those provisions were inserted by the European Parliamentary Elections (Combined Region and Campaign Expenditure) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) Order 2004, and the European Parliamentary Elections (Loans and Related Transaction and Miscellaneous Provisions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) Order 2009, made under powers in the European Parliament (Representation) Act 2003. One of the purposes of that Act was to make provision for, and in connection, with the establishment of an electoral region including Gibraltar for the purposes of European Parliamentary elections.
7.With regard to the references identified in the Recall of MPs Act 2015, we do not consider these will have any adverse consequences while remaining in force, as relevant citizens of the European Union will in any event remain on the local government register.
8.Other provisions, such as those the Committee have identified, appear not to relate solely to the European Parliamentary election context. We can see these may seem to have (and to continue to have) broader effect. If it emerges there are provisions left on the statute book which will cause practical difficulty, we will of course take steps to commence those repeals as soon as possible.
11 September 2019
Published: 4 October 2019