Amendment 207

Elections Bill - Committee (6th Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 10:45 pm on 28 March 2022.

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Lord Collins of Highbury:

Moved by Lord Collins of Highbury

207: After Clause 59, insert the following new Clause—“Registration of party emblems(1) Section 29 of PPERA (registration of parties) is amended as follows.(2) After paragraph (d) insert—“(e) closely resembles the emblem of a proscribed terrorist group or organisation.””Member’s explanatory statementThis amendment would prevent the registration of Party emblems which closely resemble the emblem of a proscribed terrorist group or organisation.

Photo of Lord Collins of Highbury Lord Collins of Highbury Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

My Lords, I will be very brief. This is a probing amendment with which we are seeking to better understand the powers we may currently have, and I hope the noble Baroness will be able to reassure us that we do have powers to address this issue.

Photo of Baroness Scott of Bybrook Baroness Scott of Bybrook Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

I thank the noble Lord for being very brief, and I will try to be nearly as brief. I am sure that it is a very well-intentioned amendment, but its effect would be minimal. I can assure the noble Lord that Section 29 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 already gives the commission the discretion to refuse the registration of an emblem where it is in its opinion obscene or offensive. According to the commission’s guidance on emblems, which is available online, all applications to register an emblem are assessed on a case-by-case basis, but are likely to be rejected if the emblem contains offensive language or terminology or links to something generally accepted as offensive with a relevant group of people.

On a more general note, Section 29 provides the commission with an appropriate and practical level of discretion to refuse or allow the registration of party emblems. Therefore, the Government consider that Section 29 already sufficiently provides for the effect of the noble Lord’s amendment, Therefore, I respectfully ask him to withdraw it.

Photo of Lord Collins of Highbury Lord Collins of Highbury Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

In the light of those comments, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 207 withdrawn.

Amendments 208 to 212G not moved.

Clauses 60 to 63 agreed.

Clause 64: Commencement

Amendments 213 to 215 not moved.

Clause 64 agreed.

Clause 65 agreed.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

House adjourned at 10.58 pm.