Voter Registration Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:24 pm on 23rd November 2018.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Fisheries, Flooding and Water) 2:24 pm, 23rd November 2018

I disagree fundamentally with the Bill, for two main reasons. First, it does not focus on enforcing existing laws. We must be cautious about creating more laws for the sake of it. The statute book already provides for people to be prosecuted for voting more than once in a general election, so the effort should be put into ensuring that there are sufficient resources to allow electoral registration offices in our local authorities, which are well known to be suffering as a result of Government cuts, and police forces, which are also suffering from cuts, to enforce the law as it stands.

Secondly, we must consider what the Bill would mean for particular voter groups, and I am thinking especially of students and members of the armed forces. Those who serve in our armed forces are frequently posted away from their homes and families, so their ability to register in both locations is vital to ensure that they do not miss out on their democratic right to choose who represents them in this place and on local councils.