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Clause 13 — Role of Electoral Commission

Part of Firearms (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:55 pm on 25th January 2011.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe 9:55 pm, 25th January 2011

The Electoral Commission was rightly established as an independent body. I think it important for the Government not to issue instructions to it, and to be seen not to do so. Given that the commission's value to our political process is by virtue of its being a completely independent statutory body, I consider it right for us to give it these new powers without laying down rules requiring it to use them in a particular way. It is for the commission to make its own judgments. How it chooses to promote awareness is rightly a matter for it, but we are giving it a statutory duty to promote awareness before any referendum held under the provisions of the Bill.