Early parliamentary general election

Part of Early Parliamentary General Election Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 29th October 2019.

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Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 6:00 pm, 29th October 2019

I believe that I have set out two sensible and compelling reasons to have the date on 12 December, and I have yet to hear to the contrary an argument about why we need to move it by three days. I really think that we have dealt with this point. I know other hon. Members wish to speak, so if the Committee will forgive me I will conclude my points on amendment 14, which stands in my name.

The Government’s amendment removes St Andrew’s day 2019 only from the operation of regulation 29(4) and 8(3) of the Representation of the People (Scotland) Regulations. This both restricts the change to this election only and leaves the subsequent register intact. The effect of the amendment is to remove the bank holiday from the calculation of time for registering for the voter deadline. It would instead be classed as a normal working day, but for this election only. We feel that the amendment, as we have drafted it, will, I hope, address SNP concerns, but will limit any unintended consequences of amending the relevant provision of the regulations.

In summary, we are trying to achieve straightforward, simple legislation that ensures that we can have a general election in short order. I urge all hon. Members to resist the temptation to complicate and amend this to allow us to have the general election on 12 December so that we can get a sustainable majority to deliver the Prime Minister’s deal and finally move on.