Elections Bill (Instruction)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:26 pm on 20th September 2021.

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Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Inclusive Society), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution), Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 8:26 pm, 20th September 2021

I thank the Minister and welcome him to his place, temporarily or otherwise. I was incredibly surprised by the length of the introduction he gave on this important change to this Bill. During my time in this Parliament, the first occasion we have had an instruction motion was last week, when Chris Bryant moved one. To his enormous credit, he was thorough, considered and detailed, and he gave a lengthy explanation as to why he wanted his instruction to take place. The Minister has absolutely failed to do that this evening. It is astonishing. Just when we thought the Government could not be any more obvious or blatantly self-serving or go further than what is already contained in the Elections Bill, here they are trying to change the rules for their own electoral advantage. Not content with silencing judges, stripping power from the Electoral Commission, privatising critical media, banning public protests and cleansing the register, the Government now want to do away with an electoral system that promotes plurality of voice, encourages participation and, more importantly, delivers a fair result. It is pretty obvious that the Conservative party has absolutely no interest in fairness, plurality or the extension of participation; the Conservatives seem interested only in retaining power, and they are prepared to change the rules and game the system to make that happen. In short, the Conservative party is quickly becoming a danger to democracy.