Examination of Witness

Part of Parliamentary Constituencies Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 23rd June 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Peter Stanyon:

Absolutely. That came from Sir Ron Gould, who did an investigation into—I think, from memory—the Scottish independence referendum, where there had been some very late changes to legislation. Anything can be planned for. With elections, as you all know, the period ahead of the polls becomes very pressurised. A longer lead-in to any significant change—a constituency boundary change would be significant—is welcome, and six months is certainly the minimum that an election administrator would want.

In the case of these boundaries, the fundamental point to bear in mind is that the electoral registers will need to be reshaped and put into their new building blocks. Whatever the case, we have 1 December as the date the revised versions of registers are published. That is often the logical date at which we would want parliamentary constituencies to be reflected in the electoral roll, simply because it means a full change in the register, which helps political parties and candidates. It can be changed later on but, again, that makes it more complicated. The sooner it is said—the Gould principle is six months—makes it far easier for that communication and working across boundaries with different administrators. De-risking the process is far easier if we have that lead-in time.