Prompt to register as an overseas elector

Part of Overseas Electors Bill – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 22nd March 2019.

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Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Conservative, Harborough 10:30 am, 22nd March 2019

My hon. Friend Alex Burghart has done a better job than me of teasing out one of the problems this new clause might cause for registration officers. My example of the helpful neighbour was in one sense unhelpful, because a more real difficulty for ROs would be on the question of what it is to be aware that someone is planning to move overseas, but as my hon. Friend pointed out, many other parts of Government might hold information that implies someone is about to move overseas.

My fear is that there will be differences in practice around the country in that some ROs will be quite effective and determined to seek out that information from other parts of Government, including local government, while others will not be, at which point there will be a row, because this is not an entirely unpolitical subject: some people are keener on registering overseas electors than others. We can imagine a world in which people say, “Look, in Rutlandshire we are using a data sharing system to pull information from this part of local government that people are about to move overseas in order to send out these prompts, but you over in Blodchester are not doing that. Why are you not doing that? You are failing in your duty to send prompts to people who parts of Government have become aware are about to move overseas.”