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Clause 8 — Reports of the Boundary Commissions

Part of House of Commons Disqualification (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 10:15 pm on 19th October 2010.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats 10:15 pm, 19th October 2010

Absolutely. I am keen that we do with registration this autumn.

I have a second proposition. The deputy leader of the Labour party argued-I put the argument to her and she made it publicly-that we should have a regular democracy day, democracy week or democracy month. Using Government resources, the Central Office of Information, and the publicity of Government and local councils, we should have a campaign that goes out to find people to register and does not do the traditional, routine, perfectly proper thing-knocking on doors, finding that people are not in and not tracking them down.

My suggestion is that this November we have a big effort led by the Deputy Prime Minister's Department and my right hon. and hon. Friends who are Ministers, using the radio and television and getting people out on the streets, outside the tube stations in London, outside the railway stations and the bus stations, outside the further education colleges throughout the country, and outside the supermarkets and at the shopping centres, so that rather than relying on people being found to be at home, there is a way in which people are encouraged to vote.

We need collectively to own a failure of a generation to ensure that people are registered to vote in the numbers that they should be. It is not a party political matter. It should not be regarded as a case for party banter and provocation. We all have a duty, because it is unacceptable that so many people are not on the voting list when they should be. I hope that the Government will come forward with positive proposals on a cross-party basis that will engage us this autumn-next month-to do something about that so that we on the Government Benches, at least, can be seen to be trying to remedy a problem which for 13 and a half years was not remedied by the Labour party.