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General Elections

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the hon. Member for South- West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what timetable the Electoral Commission has set for the publication of its guidance on counting ballots on general election night; and if the Electoral Commission will make it its policy to ensure that counting on general election night is the expected norm. (324724)

The Electoral Commission informs me that each Returning Officer is individually responsible for making arrangements for the count, and for complying with any provisions which may impact on its timing.

The Commission further informs me that it published draft guidance for Returning Officers on the timing of UK parliamentary election counts on 16 March 2010 and will publish formal guidance when the relevant provisions of the Constitutional Reform and Governance (CRAG) Bill are commenced. The draft guidance is available on the Commission's website:

www.electoralcommission.org.uk

In its draft guidance the Commission has stressed to Returning Officers that they should be aware of the strength of support among Members of Parliament for overnight counts, although its policy remains that the accuracy of the result and confidence in the election result are of paramount importance.