Clause 2 - Dates of birth and ballot papers

Part of Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 16th October 2001.

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Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office, Parliamentary Secretary (Northern Ireland Office) 5:45 pm, 16th October 2001

I am reluctant to intervene, as the hon. Gentleman is clearly coming to the end of his speech, and I have sought to persuade him to conclude, but I cannot allow his representation of what is likely to happen in the future to remain on the record without correcting it. It is not the Government's intention to have an interregnum when non-photographic identification will be accepted. The legislation is intended to create the architecture wherein the non-photographic identification can be removed and replaced by a requirement for photographic identification, either photographic identification provided by the voter from documents that the Government are satisfied are secure—and the Committee will be told in detail about that in the future—or a secure electoral identification card that will be issued on a voluntary basis to those who do not have the other documents. The timetable for achieving that is not in the Bill, but the infrastructure is, and I will refer again to that matter at a later date. A situation will not arise in which the criticised documents remain as identity documents after the Bill is enacted.