Individual Electoral Registration

Oral Answers to Questions — Electoral Commission Committee – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 10 September 2015.

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Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay 9:30, 10 September 2015

What assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the potential effect of individual electoral registration on preventing fraudulent electoral registration.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

The Electoral Commission recommended in 2003 that individual electoral registration should be introduced in Great Britain. Requiring all electoral registration applications to be verified makes it harder to create false register entries, and helps to prevent electoral and other types of fraud.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. As he said, the Electoral Commission recommended the adoption of IER in 2003. Does he agree that it is long overdue and that the ability to register online will make it much easier for many people to engage with the democratic process?

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

As usual, my hon. Friend is right: IER has been a long time coming, but it has been carefully and successfully introduced in the past 12 months. We must pay tribute to all the electoral registration officers all over the country for their hard work. As a champion of youth engagement in democracy in his constituency, he makes an important point about online registration. There is no question but that a lot of young people have exercised their ability to register online, so making sure that our register is as full as possible.

Photo of Wayne David Wayne David Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Shadow Minister (Justice), Shadow Minister (Scotland)

What is the Electoral Commission’s view of the Government’s attempt to bring forward the date of the full implementation of IER to December 2015?

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

The hon. Gentleman has raised an important point. The Electoral Commission recommended that the original date of December 2016 be maintained. The Government disagreed with that, and have now decided that December 2015 is the appropriate date. Ultimately, however, it is a matter for the House to decide, and the Electoral Commission has not changed its mind.