Committee (7th Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 10th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Campbell-Savours Lord Campbell-Savours Labour 3:45 pm, 10th January 2011

That intervention by my noble friend is extremely significant. That matter has not been taken into account by the Government. I know that there were problems in Glasgow, because I have been reading about them. There was a huge campaign that was referred to a few weeks ago by my noble friend Lord Foulkes of Cumnock to deal with the whole issue of registration, which threw up the particular problem to which my noble friend referred. Indeed, the Democratic Audit paper on further findings on equalisation,which no doubt most Members of the House will either have read or will want to read prior to our debates in the future, deals precisely with this issue of population, Mr Lewis Baston says:

"Approximately half of the countries that delimit districts use "total population" as the population base for determining equality across electoral districts. Another third of the countries employ registered voters as the population base"

Several European countries use citizen population as the relevant base for determining population equality. Lesotho uses the voting age population as the base and Belarus uses the number of voters in the previous election, although that would not be particularly helpful here, would it?

The facts are that countries can use census material and population statistics as against registered electors, particularly when we know that the registered electorate as far as the purposes of this Bill are concerned, are based on a register that is effectively out of date and which excludes, as my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton was saying only a few weeks ago, some 3.5 million people. Some 3.5 million people are excluded from the register. Why cannot the great proportion of those be included on a register by changing the basis on which the register is drawn by moving it over to a more population-based system?