Clause 4 - Electoral identity card

Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee on 18th October 2001.

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Amendment proposed [this day]: No. 37, in page 4, line 38, at end insert—

`(4) In Schedule 1 (parliamentary election rules), in rule 37(1E) (specified documents), leave out sub-paragraphs (c) to (g).

(5) Subsection 4 shall come into force 18 months after the coming into force of the rest of this section.'.—[Mr. Öpik.]

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West 4:30 pm, 18th October 2001

I remind the Committee that with this we are taking the following: New clause 1—Voters to produce specified documents—

`(1) The Elections (Northern Ireland) Act 1985 (c. 2) is amended as follows.

(2) In section 1 (voters to produce specified documents) subsection (2), at the end of inserted sub-paragraph (1E)(a), there is inserted ``and the requirement under this rule shall be satisfied by the production of the plastic photographic card which either is, or forms the counterpart of, a licence to drive a motor vehicle.''

(3) In section 1 (voters to produce specified documents) subsection (2), at the end of inserted sub-paragrpah (1E)(d), there is inserted—

``(da) a senior citizen's concessionary fare pass issued by the Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development.''.'.

New clause 6—Voters: specified documents—

`(1) From 1st April 2003, paragraph (1E) of rule 37 of the parliamentary election rules applicable to elections in Northern Ireland, imported into schedule 1 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 by section 1(2) of the Elections (Northern Ireland) Act 1985 (c.2), is amended in accordance with sub-section (2).

(2) Sub-paragraphs (a) to (g) are omitted and the following are inserted:

``(a) the plastic photographic card which is, or forms the counterpart of, a current licence to drive a motor vehicle;

(b) a current passport issued by the Government of the United Kingdom or by the Government of the Republic of Ireland;

(c) a senior citizen's concessionary fare pass isued by the Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development;

(d) a current electoral identity card issued under section 13C of this Act.''.'.

Photo of Lembit Öpik Lembit Öpik Liberal Democrat, Montgomeryshire

You will understand, Mr. Amess, if my speech this morning and my speech now seem rather disjointed, but there have been several hours in between.

I have only one point. For the reasons that we discussed earlier, a timetable is a form of insurance policy. Will the Minister accept in principle that the Government should revisit the issue? Even if they do not accept the timetable that I and the hon. Member for Reigate (Mr. Blunt) proposed, something specific, a backstop, should assure us that there will come a point, defined in legislation, after which it will not be acceptable to vote without photographic identification. Without that, the Minister risks undermining the effectiveness of the entire Bill.

The Minister may not have grasped that we are trying to help him. As things stand, there is no clear deadline, and he risks marching naked into the conference chamber with people who will do everything they can to prevent the measure from going through. I hope that the Minister will at least consider introducing a backstop. If not, we shall have to vote on it.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 4, Noes 10.

Division number 4 Adults Abused in Childhood — Clause 4 - Electoral identity card

Aye: 4 MPs

No: 10 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Nos: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Clause 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.