Overseas Electors Bill: Money

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:14 pm on 16th October 2018.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip 4:14 pm, 16th October 2018

I certainly will: the amendment would simply starve the Bill of the money that it needs to do its job. It is a blocking amendment, a wrecking amendment—it would do nothing less than stop the policy from taking effect. We think that the policy is important, because it starts from a matter of principle, and we think that the Government should support that principle with the necessary spending. Let us be in no doubt about what the amendment would do. I will offer three reasons why I think the amendment should be rejected: it is convoluted, unrealistic and incoherent.

To start with the first of those, the amendment is byzantine in its wording and unnecessarily confusing on an issue that really ought to be clear. Parliament has already agreed this policy, on Second reading at a level of principle, so nothing can be clearer than saying to our fellow British citizens that we think they ought to have the vote. This amendment sullies that principle by putting obstacles in its way.