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Lord Ampthill: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, he said that he was speaking only to Amendment No. 2. However, there are 47 amendments in this group, of which 42 are government amendments. Perhaps he could clarify that for the House.

Lord Filkin: My Lords, that is kind. A large number of consequential amendments follow on from the main government amendment, Amendment No. 2. I apologise. In an attempt to keep short what I said, I abbreviated my notes, which is always a mistake. All the other amendments are consequential amendments on Amendment No. 2, which enables one to remove the need for a general order so that there is only one order subsequent to Royal Assent rather than two.

Baroness Hanham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. I also thank very much those who took part in the debate—in particular, the noble Lords, Lord Alton and Lord Greaves, and my noble friend Lady Park. Their contributions underlined the concerns that we have had since the Bill began its passage. We made those concerns abundantly clear during the Committee stage but I am afraid that the Minister will probably know that they have not been allayed, even by what he said this afternoon.

It is true that piloting is all about learning lessons, but sometimes it is easier to learn lessons in small doses than in great swadges. While I accept the Minister's assertion that the electorate in the four pilot regions would account for 31 per cent of the total electorate,

23 Feb 2004 : Column 26

that is still a very high proportion when one is working on a regional basis. Therefore, I believe that it would be better to carry out the test on a smaller scale. We know that regions, even if they are European electoral regions, have a habit of transmogrifying themselves into regions in general. Therefore, it would be better to carry out the pilot in a selected, small number of regions.

I believe that the Minister accused me of quoting selectively from the Electoral Commission. Perhaps I may return the compliment. It is true that, when I put forward my view, I cut out a little of what was said here and there. However, I did not cut out the part at the end, which I do not believe the Minister referred to, where the commission states:

    "We have not ourselves been involved in further discussions";

namely, the discussions with the two additional regions, which the commission had already said it did not believe were ready or willing to take part in the pilot. Therefore, I do not accept that I misled the House. I believe that I was fairly clear and it is set out in the letter if anyone wants to check it.

I heard what the Minister said. I do not consider that we have discussed the government amendments in any depth. We shall deal with one or two of them later because other amendments relate to them. However, I may need to put on the record that I expect, or hope, that the order relating to the pilot will be an order of this House and that it will be debated in this House as well as in the other place so that, ultimately, we can see what it says. We carried out an enormous amount of work on this matter in Committee in order to put the practical aspects of the elections into place. We want to ensure that they are all in place before we go forward because, apart from nuances, there has been a little disagreement about them. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 2:

    Leave out Clause 1 and insert the following new clause—

(1) An election to which this section applies (a pilot election) must be held—
(a) only by postal voting, and (for that purpose)
(b) in accordance with provision made by the Secretary of State by order (a pilot order).
(2) These are the elections to which this section applies—
(a) the European Parliamentary general election of 2004 in a pilot region;
(b) a local government election in England and Wales if the poll at such an election is combined with the poll at an election mentioned in paragraph (a).
(3) These are the pilot regions—
(a) North East;
(b) East Midlands;
(c) Yorkshire and the Humber;
(d) North West.
(4) Postal voting is voting where no polling station is used and a person entitled to vote in person or by proxy must deliver the ballot paper by post or by such other means as is specified in a pilot order.

23 Feb 2004 : Column 27

(5) A pilot order—
(a) may modify or disapply any provision made by or under a relevant enactment;
(b) may contain such consequential, incidental, supplementary or transitional provision or savings (including provision amending, replacing, suspending or revoking provision made by or under any enactment) as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate;
(c) may make different provision for different purposes."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move.

Baroness Hanham moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 2, Amendment No. 3:

    Leave out lines 16 and 17.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I have heard what the Minister said, but I am not satisfied. Therefore, as I indicated earlier, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

4.2 p.m.

On Question, Whether Amendment No. 3, as an amendment to Amendment No. 2, shall be agreed to?

*Their Lordships divided: Contents, 169; Not-Contents, 110.

Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Ashcroft, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L.
Bowness, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brightman, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cockfield, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Dahrendorf, L.
Deedes, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Elton, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Feldman, L.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L. [Teller]
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greaves, L.
Greenway, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Hylton, L.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Ludford, B.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Methuen, L.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Quinton, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell, E.
Russell-Johnston, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tanlaw, L.
Taverne, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trumpington, B.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warnock, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wigoder, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Windlesham, L.
Wolfson, L.


Acton, L.
Amos, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dixon, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greengross, B.
Gregson, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jeger, B.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Listowel, E.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Ouseley, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Rooker, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Slim, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stallard, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strange, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tenby, V.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Warner, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

[*See col. 50] Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment No. 3, as an amendment to Amendment No. 2, agreed to accordingly.

23 Feb 2004 : Column 29

On Question, Amendment No. 2, as amended, agreed to.

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