Clause 13 - Removal of requirement that canvass form must be prescribed form

Part of Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 16th July 2013.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 9:15 am, 16th July 2013

Since the introduction of individual electoral registration in Northern Ireland in 2002, Northern Ireland has used a different canvass form from the rest of the United Kingdom. The form itself, not just its core elements, needs to be enshrined in secondary legislation, which Parliament discussed only last week. That means that every time there is a canvass, secondary legislation is needed to ensure that the form is kept up to date.

With the introduction of individual electoral registration in Great Britain, there is an opportunity to bring the electoral registration systems in Great Britain and Northern Ireland closer together, which is what the clause will do. By making it possible for the Electoral Commission to have a role in the process—a point made by the hon. Member for Foyle earlier—we think that we will get much better scrutiny, and that will bring Northern Ireland much closer to what goes on in the rest of the United Kingdom.