Committee (11th Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Wills Lord Wills Labour 4:00 pm, 19th January 2011

I am sorry to keep interrupting my noble friend, but having spent years on this issue, until my brain hurt, I fear that the noble Lord, Lord Tyler-who has a proud history of espousing constitutional reform for many years, and I pay tribute to it-is under a real misapprehension about the nature of reform of the registration processes. Of course individual registration is important. That is why, as my noble friend has said, I espoused it. That is why the previous Government brought it forward. However, it is primarily important for the accuracy of the register; it does not help the comprehensive nature of the register. In fact, as my noble friend Lord Campbell-Savours has just pointed out, it has the real potential to damage the comprehensive nature of the register. That has, for years and years, been the problem with dealing with individual registration. The previous Government, I am pleased to say, found a way forward, and I will, if the House permits me later, speak at greater length about it. It is true that individual registration is important for the accuracy of the register; it is not true-with all respect to the noble Lord, Lord Tyler-that it is important for the comprehensive nature of the register. That is the core of the issue here.