Overseas Electors Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:30 pm on 22nd March 2019.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley 1:30 pm, 22nd March 2019

I agree. The more people the franchise is extended to, the more chance of a result being affected by it, so my hon. Friend is right. That is why it is absolutely necessary that we get these things right. We must not just do them, find problems later and not really have a plan for how to deal with them. I would sooner we got it in place to start with and knew how we were going to try to prevent problems and deal with them once they arose.

I hope new clause 9 is self-explanatory. It would require the Cabinet Office or Secretary of State to

“within 12 months of the provisions of the Act coming into force,”— it has a date on it for the benefit of my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough—

“lay before Parliament a report evaluating the effects of the Act and the extent to which it has met its objectives.”

I have to say that we pass legislation on a regular basis in this place, in a slightly willy-nilly fashion in my opinion, and we seem to do it often on a sentiment—a worthy sentiment usually—but I would like to see more legislation come with some conditions attached, one of which would be a review of it afterwards to see whether it is meeting the objectives set out. That should be standard in all pieces of legislation. We just pass a piece of legislation and then that is it so far as most people are concerned. We then move on to the next thing and often nobody ever revisits to see whether it is working. In fact, when anyone is asked to justify anything, they often use the fact that they have passed a piece of legislation as their justification for having done something, regardless of whether or not it was effective. I would like to see this new clause added to many more pieces of legislation.