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Clause 1 — Registration: provision of signature and date of birth

Part of Orders of the Day — Election Fraud (Northern Ireland) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 31st October 2001.

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Photo of Mr Harry Barnes Mr Harry Barnes Labour, North East Derbyshire 7:45 pm, 31st October 2001

Fresh people will appear on the registers, so they will have to go through the system themselves. Perhaps it would be easier to work with young people who come into contact with their national insurance numbers and their electoral registration rights for the first time, and perhaps few difficulties would occur. People move in and out of Northern Ireland from the Republic and are entitled to vote—and from Great Britain as well. So such a system would not be automatically ready and easy.

I am in favour of modernised electoral registration systems that use all types of new technology. That is why I advocate the rolling register, and we have something like a stopping, standing still and crawling register, which has improved things. However, there is still a tremendous amount to be done, but much of that has to be done on a United Kingdom basis, and I believe that it should be tied in with identity cards, so that we could operate a nice clear system. I am worried that we may spatchcock some ideas on to the existing arrangements and that that will not work well.