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European Parliamentary Elections Etc. (Repeal, Revocation, Amendment and Saving Provisions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) (EU Exit) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 23rd October 2019.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 7:15 pm, 23rd October 2019

My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have commented on these regulations and I thank them for accepting that we need them, regardless of whether we should be in this position in the first place—I note in particular the comments of my noble friends.

Completely understandably, the noble Lords, Lord Tyler and Lord Kennedy, asked me about the Law Commission’s recommendations on electoral law. As they both will be aware, the final report has not been published yet; it is due to be published early next year. The Government will consider it as expeditiously as possible, and any actions that they need to take. It is therefore not fair to say that we are doing nothing about the reform of electoral law. No responsible Government would wish to proceed with reform in an area such as this without having the benefit of the Law Commission’s final report. I appreciate that a lot of discussion has happened, and I am grateful to noble Lords opposite and around the House for participating in that. We would like to proceed as quickly as we may, but it has to be done on a properly informed basis.

I noted the comments of my noble friend Lord Deben in particular. He and the noble Lord, Lord Tyler, asked me about the lessons that we have learned collectively from past elections, but the noble Lord asked me in particular whether the May election was open to any kind of abuse, what we know that arises from that, whether lessons were learned, and so on. That is the subject of the report from the Electoral Commission, and the report by the Association of Electoral Administrators called The Electoral Landscape in 2019. We will obviously wish to give careful consideration to both those reports on the matters raised. As we have done previously, we will look to consider the Electoral Commission’s report in conjunction with the AEA report, and we will respond formally as appropriate.