Electoral Commission

Electoral Commission Committee – in the House of Commons at on 10 September 2020.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

What representations he has received on recent media reports suggesting that the Government plan to abolish the Electoral Commission.

Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

The committee has received no representations regarding the media reports to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, which relate to a submission to the Committee on Standards in Public Life. That committee is undertaking an important review of electoral finance regulation, and the commission looks forward to engaging with the conclusions of its work in due course. The Electoral Commission is established by statute, and any changes to its constitution would be a matter for Parliament, not the Speaker’s Committee.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

I am grateful to the hon. Member for his answer. Would he agree with me that, while we can probably all think of occasions where we disliked adjudications from the commission, the fact that the Government—or the governing party—clearly want to be rid of it is an indication that probably, as an independent body, it is doing rather a good job?

Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the figures I gave earlier to Mr Bone. The track record of the Electoral Commission is one in which over 500 adjudications have been made, five have been challenged in court and only one of those challenges has been upheld. So far as that works out, I think that record stands on its own two feet.