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Electoral Commission Review

Volume 456: debated on Monday 29 January 2007

24. When do the Speaker’s Committee and the Electoral Commission plan to respond to the recommendations of the review of the Electoral Commission by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. (111476)

The Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission has not yet had an opportunity to meet to consider the report. The chairman of the Electoral Commission wrote to all Members on 19 January setting out its initial reaction to the report, and Mr. Speaker arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library. The Electoral Commission informs me that it intends to publish a formal response to the report within the next three months.

Once the Electoral Commission has published its report, will the Speaker’s Committee, in conjunction with the House authorities, make sure that we have an early debate on some of the robust proposals of the Committee on Standards in Public Life to restore confidence in the electoral process and the accountability of the Electoral Commission to all Members of this House? That is a hugely important matter outside the House, and I am keen to know that there will be enthusiasm from inside the House that it gets on our agenda so that we can legislate by changing the law if necessary.

The Speaker’s Committee took an initiative to promote a debate in the House by asking the Liaison Committee for time and that was granted. It is open to those on either Opposition Front Bench to table a motion for debate, but I think that the reassurance of the Leader of the House that an opportunity will be given for the report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life to be debated in the House is broadly welcomed.