Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy

Leader of the House written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Leader of the House, what assessment he has made of the implications for the Government's policies of the report from the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy entitled Open Up, published in January 2015; and which recommendations of that report he plans to implement.

Photo of William Hague William Hague First Secretary of State and Leader of the House of Commons

The majority of the recommendations in the report from the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy are for the House itself to consider and respond to.

In relation to the recommendations regarding the legislative process, the Government is committed to ensuring that the legislation it puts before Parliament is of a high standard and to ensuring that Parliament has the necessary means by which to perform its scrutiny function.

In April 2013, the Government launched the Good Law initiative, designed to promote law which is effective, clear and accessible. Various initiatives have been introduced this Parliament designed to improve the legislative process, including the use of explanatory statements on amendments, improved explanatory notes and piloting public reading stages of Bills. The Government has also given sufficient time to allow proper scrutiny in public bill committees and provided additional days at Commons report stages where necessary.

The Speaker's Commission also recommended that secure online voting should be an option for all voters by 2020. To make online voting available for UK elections could be attractive in light of current advances in IT. However, there are concerns that e-voting is not sufficiently transparent or secure.

The major issue raised by those opposed to the introduction of e-voting is that it is not sufficiently robust or trusted. In addition, the cost of introducing such a system would be substantial. Public support for such measures is still far from universal and traditional means of voting (such as polling stations and postal voting) remain popular with the electorate. Therefore, any means of e-voting would have to be introduced as an additional voting channel. Whilst e-voting may be something for the Government to consider in the future, it is not an immediate priority. The experience of the referendum on Scottish independence shows us that if people are engaged in the democratic process they will turn out to vote using the existing mechanism.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.