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Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I thank the Minister once more for his reply. I fear that, despite his valiant and well intentioned efforts, my views on the logicality and legality of the Government's position remain the same as they were seven and a half minutes ago. In the circumstances, I shall test the opinion of the House.

7.56 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 66) shall be agreed to?

31 Oct 2002 : Column 362

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 96; Not-Contents, 93.

Division No. 5

CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Bell, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V. [Teller]
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Byford, B.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Clement-Jones, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Fearn, L.
Glentoran, L. [Teller]
Goodhart, L.
Goschen, V.
Greaves, L.
Guildford, Bp.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hylton, L.
Jacobs, L.
Joffe, L.
Kingsland, L.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Newby, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Onslow, E.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Parkinson, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Portsmouth, Bp.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tope, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Wolfson, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Manchester, L.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Parekh, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Richard, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Simon, V.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

31 Oct 2002 : Column 363

8.6 p.m.

Lord Kingsland moved Amendments Nos. 67 to 69:


    Page 41, line 25, leave out from "if" to end of line 28 and insert—"he is convicted outside the United Kingdom of an offence, and either—


(a) the offence is one for which the maximum period of imprisonment under the law of any part of the United Kingdom in respect of an offence that is similar in character is ten years or more, or
(b) the offence is similar in character to an offence that has been specified for the purpose of this subsection under subsection (3A)." Page 41, line 28, at end insert—


"(3A) The Secretary of State may by order specify an offence under the law of any part of the United Kingdom for the purpose of subsection (2) and (3).
(3B) An order under subsection (3A) may provide that the offence is specified for the purpose of—
(a) subsection (2) only;
(b) subsection (3) only;
(c) both subsection (2) and (3).
(3C) An order under subsection (3A) shall be made by statutory instrument and shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament." Page 42, line 15, leave out paragraph (b).

On Question, amendments agreed to.

31 Oct 2002 : Column 364

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I beg to move that proceedings after Third Reading be now adjourned. In doing so, I suggest that we reconvene at 9.6 p.m.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2002

8.7 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 16th October be approved [39th Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the order is made under powers in Sections 12(1) and 113 of the Scotland Act 1998 and deals with the conduct of elections to the Scottish Parliament and the return of MSPs.

Section 12(1) of the Scotland Act 1998 gives power to make provision about elections to the Scottish Parliament to the Secretary of State. Schedule 7 to that Act provides that an order made under Section 12(1) is subject to type C procedure in that a draft of the instrument has to be laid before, and approved by resolution of, both Houses of Parliament.

The order consolidates, with amendments, the Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 1999 and three amending orders in 2001 but it also contains new provisions. First, it specifies a shorter minimum period for the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament. Secondly, in relation to elections to the Scottish Parliament it provides for access to and the sale and supply of the electoral register. This is similar to what the Representation of the People (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 provided for elections to the UK Parliament. Before I describe briefly some of the provisions, I should like to take a few moments to set them in context.

Representation of the people legislation is the main legislative vehicle for electoral legislation in the UK. There was no need to reinvent the wheel when legislating for the Scottish Parliament elections. After all, although a different electoral system is used giving us regional MSPs as well as constituency Members, the main processes and procedures used in other elections are also used for the Scottish Parliament, with additional processes applied taking account of the second ballot paper. That is why, in the main, the changes which have been incorporated in this consolidation order are the same as those which have been applied in Westminster.

The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 1999 set out the provisions about the election and the return of Members to the Scottish Parliament. Following the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, electoral administrators in Scotland indicated their appreciation of having all the material on the conduct of the election provided for in one piece of legislation.

Since 1999, the conduct order has been amended three times. The Scottish Parliament (Elections etc) (Amendment) Order 2001 made changes to reflect

31 Oct 2002 : Column 365

those introduced by the Representation of the People Act 2000. The main changes concerned rolling registration, voting by post without the need to put forward a reason for doing so, voting by proxy and the introduction of a device to enable blind or partially sighted voters to vote without assistance.

The Amendment No. 2 Order in 2001 aligned the timetable set out in the rules in Schedule 2 to the 1999 order for a by-election to fill a vacancy in a constituency seat with the timetable for a UK parliamentary election.

The Amendment No. 3 Order in 2001 amended Schedule 1 to the 1999 order. It dealt with the supply of copies of revised versions of the register and notices between the annual revisions of the register, and the period within which applications to be removed from the record of absent voters or to vote by proxy had to be received.

In addition, since 1999 Parliament has established the Electoral Commission and transferred responsibility for some electoral issues to it.

Further amendment of the 1999 order is also required to make provision for the free supply of the full register for electoral purposes to Members of the Scottish Parliament and some candidates at Scottish Parliament elections.

Against the background of those legislative changes and the need for further changes, we took the view that it would be sensible to consolidate the 1999 order and the amending orders of 2001 with the further changes required. It is the draft of this new order which we are now considering.

We have, as required by statute, consulted the Electoral Commission on the contents of the order. I express my gratitude for the input made by the representatives of electoral administrators in Scotland that has resulted in the order which I am confident will provide comprehensive rules and procedures for Scottish parliamentary elections.

This is a substantial order—all consolidation orders are. It has to be in order to contain all necessary provisions for the conduct of elections, and the return of Members, to the Scottish Parliament. An extensive Explanatory Note has therefore been made available which explains the content of the order and highlights those provisions which have changed since 1999. I hope that this has proved helpful.

There are really only two changes in the order which have not already been applied by previous amendments. I shall provide some detail. The first is in Part V of the order dealing with a range of miscellaneous and supplementary matters which are, in general, similar in terms to the 1999 order. The main change is at Article 85, which provides that the minimum period of dissolution of the Scottish Parliament under Section 2 of the Scotland Act is to be a period of 21 days. In the 1999 order, the minimum period was specified as 25 days.

The Secretary of State for Scotland was asked by the First Minister to consider reducing the dissolution period in order to extend the working life of the

31 Oct 2002 : Column 366

Parliament prior to the election and to contain the formal campaigning period for elections to the Scottish Parliament to around one month. The Secretary of State consulted with our advisory group. Electoral administrators in Scotland were mainly concerned that any change did not impact adversely on the timetable for the election and thereby increase the burden on administrators during this period.

The Secretary of State also consulted the leaders of the political parties represented at Holyrood as well as the presiding officer and the Electoral Commission. No objections were made to the reduction in the minimum period for dissolution and the Secretary of State therefore decided to make provision for a reduced period within the order. In practice, this means that, for example, in 2003 the dissolution period will begin on 31st March rather than 25th March, with polling day remaining on 1st May.

The second new provision is in Schedule 1 to the order. It makes fresh provision about the free supply of the register of local government electors for electoral purposes relating to the Scottish Parliament. This provides for the supply of the register to MSPs and their election agents, to constituency and individual regional candidates standing for election to the Scottish Parliament, and also to the election agents of registered political parties in respect of list MSP candidates. This provision is similar to that made in respect of MPs and councillors by the Representation of the People (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2002.

In passing, it is worth noting that the supply of the full register to MSPs for the purpose of complying with controls on donations contained in Schedule 7 to the Political Parties Act or Schedule 2A to the Representation of the People Act 1983 is provided for in the Representation of the People (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2002.

The final change I wish to point out is at the appendix of forms. This sets out forms for use at Scottish parliamentary elections. The forms prescribed in the 1999 order for use as returns or declarations of expenditure by registered political parties have not been replicated as they are no longer required. All other forms have been amended to reflect the provisions of this order.

This substantial order is, because of its subject matter and the range of issues it covers, inevitably complex. But it is essentially a consolidation exercise providing afresh for the conduct of elections and the return of members to the Scottish Parliament. I commend the order to the House. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 16th October be approved [39th Report from the Joint Committee].—(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)


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