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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

I take the points made by both noble Lords. There are some tremendously important areas that we need to address. The online issue is one of them. All I can say at the moment is that the strength of feeling that has been articulated this evening will not be lost on my officials: I shall make sure of that. We are committed to implementing an imprints regime for digital election material. This will ensure greater transparency. It will make it clearer to the electorate who has produced and who has promoted online political materials. I assure the noble Lord, Lord Tyler, that we will be bringing forward proposals in this area in the coming months.

The noble Lord asked me whether the progress of the withdrawal Bill might invalidate this statutory instrument. I can reassure him that it will have no effect at all. We simply need to ensure that the European parliamentary elections legislation is not repealed on exit day, in all circumstances—or in any circumstances—so we still require this statutory instrument to be agreed. If it is, the correct result will be achieved, namely that the repeal of the European parliamentary elections legislation will happen not on exit day but rather, as I said either, on 31 December 2020. The SI is needed simply to provide certainty to electoral administrators and to maintain the integrity of our domestic electoral processes.

The noble Lord, Lord Tyler, asked whether I was a permanent or temporary spokesman for the Cabinet Office. I wish I could quantify the length of the piece of string that we are dealing with here. I am but a pale imitation of my noble friend Lord Young, whose presence on the Front Benches is sorely missed. Currently, I respond for the Cabinet Office. It is my privilege to do so and I will continue to do so until requested not to.

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 7.23 pm.