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Electoral Commission Committee

Volume 519: debated on Tuesday 30 November 2010

The hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, was asked—

Young People (Electoral Register)

4. What discussions the Electoral Commission has had with the Deputy Prime Minister on the effect on the electoral system of accepting young people onto the electoral roll at the point at which they are issued with a national insurance number. (27049)

The Electoral Commission has had no such specific discussions. However, it has had discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister about how national data sources can be used to improve registration, including among young people, as part of the Government’s proposals for implementing individual electoral registration in Great Britain.

Even though the franchise begins at age 18, will the hon. Gentleman acknowledge the benefits to young voter engagement of allowing them on to the register at age 16, when they are issued with a national insurance number, rather than waiting until the year in which they turn 18?

That decision is very much a matter for the Government and not the Electoral Commission. I understand that there is a range of views on that subject within the House.