Skip to main content

United Kingdom Elections

Volume 533: debated on Thursday 13 October 2011

3. What recent recommendations the Electoral Commission has made to the Government on the running of UK-wide elections. (73909)

The Electoral Commission has made a number of recommendations to the Government on the administration of UK-wide elections, most recently in its report on the 2010 parliamentary general election. The commission has recommended that the Government set out a comprehensive plan to improve the management of elections and to make it easier for voters to participate.

Although the result of the recent alternative vote referendum was probably predictable from the beginning, it was nevertheless a very well-run process. Are there any lessons that we can learn from that for future UK-wide elections?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who is being very perceptive, because there has been widespread public appreciation of how the UK referendum was run earlier in the year. The commission will be publishing a report next Wednesday that will make a number of recommendations for improving the delivery of all future UK-wide elections and will, in particular, emphasise the benefits of central co-ordination.

What consideration has the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission given to ensuring the integrity of the UK-wide franchise? We are hearing of proposals from the Scottish Government to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds for their proposed referendum on Scotland separating from the UK.

The commission takes all such issues very seriously, and although I do not have a lot of knowledge of that particular issue, no doubt the commission is considering it. If I can respond to the hon. Gentleman in writing, I shall certainly do so.