Local Elections: Pilot Schemes

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:24 pm on 11th May 2000.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office 3:24 pm, 11th May 2000

My Lords, I have looked at some of the initial findings on the turn-out question. The noble Lord is right. Where postal voting was conducted, there were considerable increases in turn-out. That is something on which we should reflect. It is encouraging.

There are various reasons for carrying out experiments. We shall need to study carefully the reports produced by the local authorities and try to get behind some of the reasons for low turn-outs where pilots were conducted.

I respect the noble Lord's comments on the question of fraud and abuse in postal votes. It is a concern that we all share. I was grateful to him for his support during the passage of the Representation of the People Bill, enabling us to close off any opportunities for fraud that existed. We shall continue to press on that issue.