Schedule 1 — Further provisions about the referendum
Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill
Mark Harper (Parliamentary Secretary (Political and Constitutional Reform), Cabinet Office; Forest of Dean, Conservative)
I welcome the principles behind the amendments tabled by Alun Michael and Luciana Berger. It is very important that everyone has an equal opportunity to cast their vote in the referendum, and I am glad that the amendments raise that important issue.
I want to reassure the Committee that there are significant provisions made throughout the Bill-indeed, later this afternoon we will consider some Government amendments that will give the Electoral Commission further powers to ensure that the forms used are accessible-to ensure that voting is fair for all, including disabled people. Ensuring that ballot papers and polling stations are accessible to all is already a duty that counting officers and returning officers have. For the purposes of the referendum the chief counting officer will also be able to give directions to counting officers on how they discharge those functions.