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Secondly, it is not clear how such recommendations by the commission for changes would interact with the recommendation that the commission is required to make in 2014 as to whether the provision of identifying information should be made obligatory. A positive recommendation under that subsection would trigger an affirmative order to commence the provisions, but what would the situation be if the commission should make such a recommendation conditional on other steps that it had recommended under this amendment? What would be the most appropriate course for government and Parliament if it was felt that any such conditions set by the commission, though well intentioned, were not sensible to pursue?

A partial or conditional recommendation would introduce an additional and unnecessary layer of complexity to the test process, which as currently drafted is intended to allow for the smooth transition to individual registration. It is not clear what would happen if, for example, the Secretary of State disagreed with the commission’s recommendations for change. The potential for disagreement to stall the process for transition is real.

There is also a risk that the conditional nature of the recommendation could undermine its strength. Under our proposals, if a recommendation is made to move to individual registration, the Secretary of State must put it to Parliament for a vote. However, if the recommendation is conditional, it may follow that the nature of the obligation to do something in response to it feels less robust.

Thirdly, the amendment would shift the focus of the commission’s role in an important and undesirable way. The commission’s views on what changes to the system might be necessary are helpful—that is why we have asked it to include in its annual reports an assessment of what changes it thinks might be needed. But that is different from a power to make formal

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recommendations which could be far-reaching in their effect and trigger a wide power for the Secretary of State to act on them. That goes towards handing the initiative in designing the system to the commission, when it is properly for government and Parliament.

Nor are we sure that the amendment is necessary. It indicates that the Secretary of State “must have regard to” the recommendations of the Electoral Commission in making an order allowing the shift to the obligatory provision of identifiers. However, the Secretary of State—and, more importantly, Parliament—would at any rate take into account the commission’s assessment of the system’s readiness for change. It is the commission’s assessment that unlocks the process. That is why the tests are in the Bill, placing the Electoral Commission and Parliament at the heart of the change but making a proper distinction between their roles. That is why we are not content with the amendment as it stands and I invite the noble Lord not to press it.

I have spoken much longer than I intended. It has been a major debate, and I have no doubt that we shall come back to these matters at a later stage.

Amendment 125A agreed.

Amendment 125B

Moved by Lord Bach

125B: After Clause 21, insert the following new Clause—

“Regulations amending or supplementing section (Voluntary provision of identifying information)

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations—

(a) amend subsection (1) or (2) of section (Voluntary provision of identifying information);

(b) make any other amendments to that section or this section that appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary or desirable in consequence of an amendment made by virtue of paragraph (a);

(c) make provision supplementing that section.

(2) The provision that may be made by virtue of subsection (1)(c) includes in particular—

(a) provision as to forms on which identifying information may be provided;

(b) provision as to explanations or other material to be provided by registration officers, either on forms of the kind mentioned in paragraph (a) or otherwise;

(c) provision about the form and manner in which records under section (Voluntary provision of identifying information)(5) are to be kept;

(d) provision for the disclosure by the authority responsible for national insurance numbers (the “relevant authority”) to a registration officer or CORE keeper, following a request by that person, of—

(i) the national insurance number recorded in respect of an individual specified or described in the request, or the fact that the individual is not recorded as having a national insurance number, and

(ii) in the case of such an individual recorded as having a national insurance number, any further information about the individual that is recorded by the relevant authority,

for the purpose of checking the accuracy of any information that appears in a register or other record kept by a registration officer (including a record under section (Voluntary provision of identifying information)(5));



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(e) provision authorising the relevant authority to charge fees to a person making a request of the kind mentioned in paragraph (d) to cover the authority’s reasonable expenses in complying with such requests;

(f) provision as to action to be taken by a registration officer who suspects (whether as a result of checks of the kind referred to in paragraph (d) or otherwise) that any information collected under section (Voluntary provision of identifying information) is false.

(3) Regulations under this section may contain transitional or saving provision.

(4) The power to make regulations under this section is exercisable by statutory instrument.

(5) Before making regulations under this section, the Secretary of State—

(a) must consult the Electoral Commission, and

(b) in the case of regulations containing provision amending subsection (1) or (2) of section (Voluntary provision of identifying information), must seek the Commission’s views as to whether, if it was obligatory for every registered person to provide identifying information, the provision would help or hinder the achievement of the registration objectives.

(6) For the purposes of this section, the registration objectives are to secure, so far as is reasonably practicable—

(a) that persons who are entitled to be registered in a register are registered in it,

(b) that persons who are not entitled to be registered in a register are not registered in it, and

(c) that none of the information relating to a registered person that appears in a register or other record kept by a registration officer is false.

(7) The first regulations under this section, and any subsequent ones that amend section (Voluntary provision of identifying information) or this section, may not be made unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing them has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(8) Any regulations under this section not falling within subsection (7) are subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(9) In this section—

“CORE keeper” has the same meaning as in Part 1 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (c. 22);

“false”, in relation to a signature, means that the signature is not the usual signature of, or was written by a person other than, the person whose signature it purports to be;

“identifying information” has the same meaning as in section (Voluntary provision of identifying information);

“registered person” means a person registered in a register.”

Amendment 125BA (to Amendment 125B) not moved.

Amendment 125B agreed.

Amendment 125C

Moved by Lord Bach

125C: After Clause 21, insert the following new Clause—

“Report by Electoral Commission on provision of identifying information

(1) The Electoral Commission must keep under review the operation of section (Voluntary provision of identifying information) and any supplementary regulations.

(2) In each calendar year beginning with the year after that in which the duties under that section first arise, the Commission must—



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(a) submit to the Secretary of State a report on the operation of that section and any supplementary regulations, and

(b) publish the report in whatever way the Commission think appropriate.

(3) A report under this section must contain an assessment by the Commission—

(a) as to the adequacy of the electoral registration system in Great Britain, with particular reference to the effectiveness of registration officers in meeting the registration objectives;

(b) as to what (if any) changes with regard to that system would be necessary or desirable for meeting those objectives if the provision of identifying information was made obligatory.

(4) The report for 2014 must contain (as well as the assessment mentioned in subsection (3))—

(a) the Commission’s assessment, on the basis of the available evidence (including in particular evidence as to the operation of section (Voluntary provision of identifying information) and any supplementary regulations), as to whether it would help or hinder the achievement of the registration objectives to make the provision of identifying information obligatory;

(b) the Commission’s recommendation as to whether or not the provision of identifying information should be made obligatory.

(5) The report for 2014 must be—

(a) submitted to the Secretary of State by 31 July in that year, and

(b) laid before Parliament as soon as possible by the Secretary of State.

(6) If—

(a) the recommendation in the report for 2014 is that the provision of identifying information should be made obligatory, and

(b) the recommendation is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament,

the Secretary of State must as soon as reasonably practicable make an order under section 29(2) bringing section (Obligatory provision of identifying information) into force.

The Secretary of State may not make such an order if those conditions are not met.

(7) If—

(a) the report for 2014 does not contain a recommendation that the provision of identifying information should be made obligatory, or

(b) the report does contain such a recommendation, but it is not approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament,

the Secretary of State may require the Electoral Commission to submit, by a specified date, a further report under this section containing the things mentioned in subsection (4).

(8) The date specified under subsection (7) must be at least one year after the day on which the requirement is made but not more than two years after that day.

(9) Subsections (5)(b) and (6) to (8) apply to a report submitted in response to a requirement under subsection (7) as they apply to the report for 2014.

(10) In this section—

“identifying information” has the same meaning as in section (Voluntary provision of identifying information);

“obligatory” means obligatory for every person registered in a register;



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“registration objectives” has the same meaning as in section (Regulations amending or supplementing section (Voluntary provision of identifying information));

“supplementary regulations” means regulations under section (Regulations amending or supplementing section (Voluntary provision of identifying information)) made by virtue of subsection (1)(c) of that section.”

Amendments 125CA and 125CB (to Amendment 125C) not moved.

Amendment 125C agreed.

Amendments 125D and 125E

Moved by Lord Bach

125D: After Clause 21, insert the following new Clause—

“Obligatory provision of identifying information

(1) With effect from the commencement of this section, the amendments made to the 1983 Act by section 1 of the Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 (c. 13) extend to the whole of the United Kingdom.

(2) The 1983 Act is amended as follows.

(3) In section 10 (maintenance of registers: annual canvass)—

(a) for subsection (4) there is substituted—

“(4) The form to be used for the purposes of a canvass shall be—

(a) a form prescribed for those purposes, or

(b) a form to the same effect.

Paragraph (b) does not apply in Northern Ireland and, in Great Britain, does not apply if or to the extent that regulations so provide.”;

(b) in subsection (4A), for “a canvass in Northern Ireland” there is substituted “a canvass”;

(c) in subsection (4A)(c), at the beginning of sub-paragraph (ii) there is inserted “in the case of a canvass in Northern Ireland,”;

(d) in subsection (4B), for “The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland” there is substituted “A registration officer”;

(e) after that subsection there is inserted—

“(4C) In relation to each person without a national insurance number to whom the form mentioned in subsection (4) above relates, regulations may require the form to be accompanied by such other evidence to identify the person as may be prescribed.

(4D) A registration officer shall keep a record showing the information obtained under subsection (4A) above.”

(4) In section 10ZB (the relevant registration objectives)—

(a) in the heading, the words “(Northern Ireland)” are omitted;

(b) in subsection (3), for “the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland” there is substituted “a registration officer”;

(c) in subsections (4) and (5)(a), for “the Chief Electoral Officer” there is substituted “the registration officer concerned”.

(5) In section 10A (maintenance of registers: registration of electors)—

(a) in subsection (1A), the words “in respect of an address in Northern Ireland” are omitted;

(b) in subsection (1A)(c), at the beginning of sub-paragraph (ii) there is inserted “in the case of an application for registration in respect of an address in Northern Ireland,”;



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(c) in subsection (1B), for “The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland” there is substituted “A registration officer”;

(d) after that subsection there is inserted—

“(1C) In relation to each person without a national insurance number to whom an application for registration relates, regulations may require the application to be accompanied by such other evidence to identify the person as may be prescribed.

(1D) A registration officer shall keep a record showing the information obtained under subsection (1A) above.”;

(e) in subsection (2)(a), for the words from “the form” to “in a register” there is substituted “a completed form specifies any person as a person who is entitled to be registered in a register in respect of a particular address”;

(f) in subsection (5)(a), for sub-paragraph (i) there is substituted—

“(i) no canvass form was returned showing the elector as resident at that address on that date, or”;

(g) in subsection (5A), for the words in paragraph (a) from the beginning to “does not include” there is substituted “a canvass form has been returned showing the elector as resident at that address but the form does not include”;

(h) in subsection (7), for the words after “in cases where” there is substituted “no canvass form has been returned in respect of the person in question”;

(i) in subsection (9), before the definition of “determines” there is inserted—

““canvass form” means the form mentioned in section 10(4) above;”.

(6) In section 13A (alteration of registers)—

(a) in subsection (2A), the words “in respect of an address in Northern Ireland” are omitted;

(b) in subsection (2A)(c), at the beginning of sub-paragraph (ii) there is inserted “in the case of an application for registration in respect of an address in Northern Ireland,”;

(c) in subsection (2B), for “The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland” there is substituted “A registration officer”.

(d) after that subsection there is inserted—

“(2C) In relation to each person without a national insurance number to whom an application for registration under subsection (1)(a) above relates, regulations may require the application to be accompanied by such other evidence to identify the person as may be prescribed.

(2D) A registration officer shall keep a record showing the information obtained under subsection (2A) above.”

(7) In section 13BB (election falling within canvass period) (inserted by section 16 above), in subsection (1)(a)—

(a) for “the form returned in respect of an address (“the relevant address”)” there is substituted “a form”;

(b) for “an application for registration is treated as having been made in respect of that address” there is substituted “an application for registration in respect of a particular address (“the relevant address”) is treated as having been made”.

(8) In section 13D (provision of false information), in subsection (2), for “the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland” there is substituted “a registration officer”.

(9) In section 201 (regulations), after subsection (2A) there is inserted—

“(2B) In the case of regulations under section 10(4C), 10A(1C) or 13A(2C), in carrying out the consultation required by section 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 the Secretary of State shall seek the views of the Electoral Commission

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as to whether the provision to be made by the regulations would help or hinder the achievement of the registration objectives (within the meaning given by section 10ZB).”

(10) In Schedule 2 (provisions which may be contained in regulations as to registration etc), in paragraph 1—

(a) after sub-paragraph (4) there is inserted—

“(4ZA) Provisions for the disclosure (otherwise than by virtue of sub-paragraph (4) above) by the authority responsible for national insurance numbers (the “relevant authority”) to a registration officer or a CORE keeper (within the meaning of Part 1 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006), following a request by that person, of—

(a) the national insurance number recorded in respect of an individual specified or described in the request, or the fact that the individual is not recorded as having a national insurance number, and

(b) in the case of such an individual recorded as having a national insurance number, any further information about the individual that is recorded by the relevant authority,

for the purpose of checking the accuracy of any information that appears in a register or other record kept by a registration officer.

(4ZB) Provisions authorising the relevant authority to charge fees to a person making a request of the kind mentioned in sub-paragraph (4ZA) to cover the authority’s reasonable expenses in complying with such requests.”;

(b) in sub-paragraph (5), for “sub-paragraph (4) or (4A)” there is substituted “sub-paragraph (4), (4ZA) or (4A)”;

(c) in sub-paragraph (6), for “sub-paragraph (4A)” there is substituted “sub-paragraph (4ZA) or (4A)”;

(d) in paragraph 1(8), for “the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland” there is substituted “a registration officer”.”

125E: After Clause 21, insert the following new Clause—

“Provision supplementing section (Obligatory provision of identifying information)

(1) Where on the commencement of section (Obligatory provision of identifying information) a person is registered in a register maintained by a registration officer, the person’s name is not to be removed from the register by virtue of section 10A(5A) of that Act (canvass form not including required information, etc) until the conclusion of the third canvass to be concluded after the commencement of that section.

(2) An order bringing section (Obligatory provision of identifying information) into force may—

(a) repeal any provision of sections (Voluntary provision of identifying information), (Regulations amending or supplementing section (Voluntary provision of identifying information)) and (Report by Electoral Commission on provision of identifying information);

(b) make amendments to any enactment that are consequential on the coming into force of section (Obligatory provision of identifying information).

(3) The Secretary of State may (either before, at the same time as or after section (Obligatory provision of identifying information) is brought into force) by regulations—

(a) amend section 10(4A) or (4B), section 10A(1A) or (1B) or section 13A(2A) or (2B) of the 1983 Act;

(b) make any other amendments to the 1983 Act that appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary or desirable in consequence of an amendment made by virtue of paragraph (a).

(4) Regulations under subsection (3)—

(a) may make different provision for different purposes or different areas;



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(b) may make transitional or saving provision.

(5) The power to make regulations under subsection (3) is exercisable by statutory instrument.

(6) Before making regulations under subsection (3) the Secretary of State must—

(a) consult the Electoral Commission, and

(b) in the case of regulations containing provision amending section 10(4A) or (4B), section 10A(1A) or (1B) or section 13A(2A) or (2B) of the 1983 Act, seek the Commission’s views as to whether the provision would help or hinder the achievement of the registration objectives.

In paragraph (b) “registration objectives” has the same meaning as in section (Regulations amending or supplementing section (Voluntary provision of identifying information)).

(7) An order containing provision made by virtue of paragraph (b) of subsection (2), or regulations under subsection (3), may not be made unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing the order or regulations has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”

Amendments 125D and 125E agreed.

Clauses 22 and 23 agreed.

Amendment 126 not moved.

Amendment 127

Moved by Lord Campbell-Savours

127: After Clause 23, insert the following new Clause—

“Registration of interests by candidates

(1) Every candidate for election at a general election shall provide to the returning officer at the same time as submitting his nomination papers a completed registration form containing information of any pecuniary interest or other material benefit which the candidate receives which might reasonably be thought by others to influence the candidate’s actions or speeches.

(2) The returning officer shall publish the interests.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), a candidate shall register all those interests which a member of the House of Commons is required to register under the House of Commons Code of Conduct and Guide to the rules relating to the conduct of members.”

Lord Campbell-Savours: I shall speak briefly to the amendment. I would like to think that it will get the support of the Committee, but I doubt it. Nevertheless, I shall press on.


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