Results 1–20 of 1334 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Chloe Smith

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Electoral Registration Process (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: Every application to the electoral register is now subject to identity verification checks, making our system more secure than before. In late December, the Government laid draft legislation aimed at further improving the registration process, including addressing recommendations from the Pickles review of electoral fraud.

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Electoral Registration Process (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: I share my hon. Friend’s concerns and am glad that he has brought those examples to light. I understand that, following the examination of these reports—or perhaps of reports other than those to which he refers—the Electoral Commission has stated that there is “a lack of evidence of widespread abuse.” None the less, we will continue to work with the police and...

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Electoral Registration Process (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: I struggled to hear the hon. Gentleman owing to some noises off. As he knows, and as he knows I know, the electoral system in Northern Ireland is devolved. I am sure that my new ministerial colleagues at the Northern Ireland Office will be taking his concerns very seriously and working with the devolved Administration, where appropriate, to look into them.

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Electoral Registration Process (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: I thank my right hon. Friend for her views. I refer to the breadth of the Pickles review of electoral fraud, which gave us the basis for a number of reforms of our electoral system, all designed to reduce fraud and improve security. In that context, I will look carefully at all its recommendations. As you will know, Mr Speaker, the Government have already accepted and will be moving forward...

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Electoral Registration Process (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: I am very well aware of the arguments, although I confess that at this point, 24 hours into the role, I have not yet had a chance to study that particular private Member’s Bill. I shall be happy to do that and take up the conversation from that point.

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Electoral Registration Process (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: The hon. Gentleman will know that in fact we have near-record levels of participation in our democracy. Voter turnout has risen. The completeness and accuracy of the electoral register have improved. There have been 30 million new registrations to vote since the introduction of IER—individual electoral registration—in 2014. Seventy-five per cent. of those used the “Register...

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Democratic Processes: Foreign Influence (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: The first duty of the Government is of course to safeguard the nation, and we take the security and integrity of our democratic processes very seriously. Although we have not seen evidence of successful foreign interference, we are not complacent, and we will continue to do what is necessary to protect ourselves.

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Democratic Processes: Foreign Influence (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: One of the very first things for me to do in my new role is to meet the Electoral Commission, and I look forward to discussing that with it.

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Democratic Processes: Foreign Influence (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: Hearing from the right hon. Gentleman reminds me of the heady days during the coalition Government when we served in and around the Cabinet Office together. His question reminds us that there are hon. Members of this House who seem to feel the need to do as he says. I think it would be more helpful if we recalled the words of the Prime Minister in her Mansion House speech, which were that we...

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Electoral Registration: Disabled People (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: The Government are considering the responses to our call for evidence on the accessibility of the voter registration system. We have recently released the Government’s plan for democratic engagement, which includes strategies for disabled electors. The Government have also implemented the findings of an accessibility review of the website “Register to vote”.

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Electoral Registration: Disabled People (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: Notwithstanding the caveat that in Northern Ireland the system is devolved and in some ways different from that in Great Britain, we certainly should not regard people with disabilities as in some way restricted in using the voting system in one way or another. Polling stations are equipped with, for example, tactile voting devices. More broadly, there are arguments around whether Braille...

Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Electoral Registration: Disabled People (10 Jan 2018)

Chloe Smith: I agree with my hon. Friend and I am glad he has raised those points here today. My predecessor in this role, my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore), did excellent work in the Every Voice Matters project where he focused on this as a matter of social justice. Of course, the citizen—any citizen—should be at the heart of voting and be able to cast their vote as a...

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (20 Dec 2017)

Chloe Smith: My position on this issue is clear: I voted in support of same-sex marriage in England and Wales and, like the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister, I hope that this can be extended to Northern Ireland in future. I believe marriage should be a common right across the UK. However, the fundamental position remains that same-sex marriage is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland.

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (20 Dec 2017)

Chloe Smith: I very much sympathise with this issue and share the frustration encapsulated in the letter to which the hon. Gentleman refers. However, this is not the time to be unpicking the devolution settlement on this issue. It is, rightly, an issue for a future Executive to return to and look at. We hope that the Executive can be brought back to do that and deal with many other important issues.

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (20 Dec 2017)

Chloe Smith: I can certainly confirm that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the Department have regular contact with Church leaders. As I said, it is an important issue, but it really is an issue for a future devolved Government to look at.

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: Leaving the EU: Border Discussions (20 Dec 2017)

Chloe Smith: We speak regularly with counterparts in the Irish Government on a range of issues. As the Prime Minister has said, we will maintain the common travel area, there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and no new borders within the United Kingdom.

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: Leaving the EU: Border Discussions (20 Dec 2017)

Chloe Smith: The Prime Minister has given that clarity. She was at this very Dispatch Box only earlier this week saying that we need not speak in terms of hard or soft Brexit. What we are out to do is to get the best possible deal for all parts of the United Kingdom.

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: Leaving the EU: Border Discussions (20 Dec 2017)

Chloe Smith: My right hon. Friend; I mean my hon. Friend—

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: Leaving the EU: Border Discussions (20 Dec 2017)

Chloe Smith: Quite right. My hon. Friend is correct on two counts. The first is that, of course, there is already co-operation across the border. He mentions the way that we need to be able to deal with fuel, for example, on the two sides of the border. He is also absolutely correct that what we want is a free trade agreement—a comprehensive deal—which is laid out in the agreement that the...

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland: Leaving the EU: Border Discussions (20 Dec 2017)

Chloe Smith: I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that we in this House want to see no new borders inside the United Kingdom. We think that the Union is a precious thing that must be preserved. I will also just note, as I did to the hon. Member for Rochdale (Tony Lloyd), that the relationship that we have with the Irish Government and that we want to continue to have with them should be one of close...


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