Postal Voting

Oral Answers to Questions — Deputy Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 24th May 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Graham Evans Graham Evans Conservative, Weaver Vale 11:30 am, 24th May 2011

What recent assessment he has made of arrangements for the provision of postal votes on demand.

Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

We have made no specific assessment of postal voting on demand, but we of course keep postal voting under review as we consider electoral administration in general.

Photo of Graham Evans Graham Evans Conservative, Weaver Vale

There have been widespread reports of shocking abuses of postal votes, especially in areas with high levels of multiple occupancy housing. Will my hon. Friend tell the House what steps the Government are taking to stamp out postal vote fraud and ensure honesty in our elections?

Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that question. He will know that we are introducing individual voter registration before the next general election, which will mean that everyone who wants to cast an absent vote, a postal vote in this case, will have to register individually and provide their identifiers to their registration officer in order to make the register more secure.

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

Conservative Members are very prone to making rash statements about alleged postal vote fraud, and not just in this House, but in another place. I have been in correspondence with the Minister and regularly asked the Leader of the House whether he can get Baroness Warsi to retract her statement that the Conservative party was robbed of a majority at the last election because of electoral fraud on behalf of the Labour party, particularly in the Asian community. Although a Cabinet member, she resolutely refuses to reply. Will the Minister do so now on her behalf?

Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

The right hon. Gentleman raised this matter at business questions. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House drew it to my attention, as I am the Minister responsible for that policy area, and I replied as quickly as possible and gave the right hon. Gentleman a full answer. If he wishes to raise it with me again and ask me anything—[ Interruption. ] If Labour Members would actually listen, they might hear my answer. If he would like to ask me anything that I have not already answered in my letter, I would be delighted to write to him again.