Electoral Registration — Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:50 pm on 12th January 2012.

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Photo of Lord Wallace of Saltaire Lord Wallace of Saltaire Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip) 1:50 pm, 12th January 2012

Both the Government and the Electoral Commission are looking at how we manage to ensure that an adequate canvass is maintained throughout the transition period and after. There are regular consultations between electoral registration officers, the Electoral Commission and the Government, and they will of course continue.

This has been a useful debate and I just wish to end where I began. The Government are still in listening mode. We are all committed to a transition from a household system of registration to a system of individual registration, and we all have a strong interest in ensuring that the new system which emerges is accurate, complete and widely trusted. That is our aim; we shall continue to consult and will then take the Bill through both Houses while continuing to listen as the Bill goes through both Houses. I trust that when the new system emerges we will find that we have achieved those aims as far as is possible in a highly mobile society. We live in a country where a substantial proportion of those who have contact with the state are not necessarily British nationals, and some of those who have contact with the state and fill in forms are functionally illiterate or do not fully understand English. Nevertheless we aim to overcome those problems as far as we can and achieve, we hope, as complete and accurate a register as we can, both for the next election and as a basis for the next boundary review.