- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
On Monday 31 October 2016, I responded for the Opposition at the Delegated Legislation Committee meeting on the Electoral Commission.
The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Michael Ellis MP, moved the following motions:
“That the Committee has considered the motion, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying that Her Majesty will appoint Sir John Holmes as the Chair of the Electoral Commission with effect from 1 January 2017 for the period ending on 31 December 2020.”
“That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying that Her Majesty will appoint Dame Susan Bruce as an Electoral Commissioner with effect from 1 January 2017 for the period ending on 31 December 2020.”
I supporting the motion I said:
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Wilson. I thank the Deputy Leader of the House for his speech; I join him in thanking Jenny Watson, outgoing chair of the Electoral Commission, for all her hard work.
For both appointments, the process of selection and interview has been rigorous. It has included consulting party leaders—I think the former Prime Minister actually responded—and for the first time the Scottish Parliament was consulted on the appointment of the electoral commissioner responsible for Scotland. The process has been open, transparent and accountable to Parliament, with reports published on 19 July 2016 and 10 October 2016. I am sure that the new appointees will look forward to the challenges of addressing the 50 recommendations of “Securing the ballot”, the report by the right hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Sir Eric Pickles).
The Labour party has some concerns about individual electoral registration and ending the transition arrangements earlier. The Electoral Commission may want to review the situation to ensure that people have not been disfranchised and are on the register, so that they can take full part in the democratic process.
The candidates’ backgrounds are set out in the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission’s third and fourth reports of 2016, and we can see that they both have extensive experience. The Opposition fully endorse those reports and the motions.