Elections Bill, Lords Amendments

On Monday 17 January 2022 I spoke at the Report Stage of the Elections Bill. I called on the Government to pause the legislation and reconsider provisions to dictate the priorities of the Electoral Commission, introduce mandatory photo ID to vote and further regulation of ‘joint campaigning’ by third party organisations and political parties. It is right that the Government has reversed its position on joint campaigning and removed these measures.

On Wednesday 28 April 22 the Bill returned to the House of Commons to allow us to vote on the amendments made by the Lords.

Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment 22. The Bill will give the Government powers to produce a ‘Strategy and Policy Statement’ for Electoral Commission which it must ‘take regard to’ while fulfilling its functions. LA22 and 23 would remove these clauses which undermine the independence of the Commission. It is extraordinary that any Government should seek to interfere with the independence of our elections regulator, and deeply damaging for our democracy. I voted against this motion, which was passed, Ayes:306 and Noes:215.

Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment 23. I voted against the motion, which was passed, Ayes: 306 and Noes:213.

Motion to disagree with Lords Amendment 86.  This would amend Government proposals to introduce mandatory photographic ID as a requirement to vote, by expanding acceptable ID to include non-photo documents such as birth certificates, bank statements, council tax demands and library cards, which more people are likely to posses. The Government’s plans could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people.  I voted against the motion, which was passed, Ayes: 306 and Noes: 213.