Clause 34 - Minor and consequential amendments

Elections Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 26th October 2021.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Conservative, The Wrekin

With this it will be convenient to discuss that schedule 9 be the Ninth schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister for Equalities, Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (jointly with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The clause gives effect to schedule 9, which contains minor and consequential amendments resulting from part 5 of the Bill.

The new intimidation disqualification order must be enforceable. Offenders who are banned from standing for election must be prevented from doing so. It is already a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment, to provide false information on a candidate nomination form. All candidates must declare that they are not disqualified from being elected. That will be a sufficient deterrent for most offenders banned by the new disqualification order, but it is possible that some will try to stand for election regardless. That is why schedule 9 amends the rules for Northern Ireland, local and UK parliamentary elections. It provides returning officers with the power to hold a nomination paper invalid where a candidate is disqualified by virtue of the new intimidation disqualification order. Returning officers are only expected to hold nomination papers invalid where they are certain, based on information provided or otherwise available to the returning officer, that a candidate is disqualified.

Schedule 9 also makes minor changes to the process for vacating various elected offices and, by amending the Armed Forces Act 2006, allows the new disqualification order to be imposed by military courts on an offender who is subject to service law. Schedule 9 is important for the enforcement of the new disqualification order and for ensuring that the disqualification fits smoothly and consistently with all elected offices.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 34 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 9 agreed to.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned.—(Rebecca Harris.)

Adjourned till this day at Two o’clock.