Mr Philip Hammond (Shadow Minister, Local and Devolved Government Affairs; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
The Minister has twice used the phraseology that the Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, Mr. Leslie, used last week, saying that there would be a delay if the Electoral Commission declared that it would be "unsafe to proceed". That is a very high test to set. The right hon. Gentleman is reported in the Yorkshire Post yesterday as having said:
"If there were to be a suggestion that some new regulations were required then"
"would take place."
A suggestion that new regulations may be required is very different from a declaration by the Electoral Commission that it would be unsafe to proceed. Can the Minister tell the House which is the test that he will apply?