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Electoral Fraud

Volume 615: debated on Thursday 13 October 2016

4.. What assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of “Securing the ballot: Report of Sir Eric Pickles’ review into electoral fraud”, published in August 2016. (906560)

The Electoral Commission welcomed in August the publication of the Pickles report and recommendations on electoral fraud, particularly his support for the commission’s recommendations that the Government should consider introducing voter ID at polling stations in Great Britain. The commission will submit its response shortly to the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, the hon. Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore), who is responsible for constitutional matters.

What can be done to ensure that staff at polling stations observe and enforce the rule that voters are accompanied to the polling booth only if they are blind or otherwise unable to make their mark?

There is Electoral Commission guidance for electoral registration officers on this very point. My right hon. Friend raises an important point. That should not happen, but I will refer his concerns to the Electoral Commission to see whether the guidance needs to be clarified or made more robust. I am grateful to him for raising it.

My hon. Friend knows that I have had long-standing serious concerns about electoral fraud in some parts of Bradford. I particularly welcome what he says about ID at polling stations. When might we expect the first elections to take place where that is the rule?

I am delighted to say that that is not a matter for the Electoral Commission, which has recommended this measure strongly since 2014. It is now a matter for the Government and this House to introduce this more robust new provision.

If someone wants to open a bank account, they have to produce all manner of identities. Yet to do the most important thing we can in our democracy, which is to vote, they do not have to produce ID. Can we expect to see that change?

I am delighted that my hon. Friend supports the Electoral Commission’s recommendation that registration and identification should be introduced at polling stations. It is now for the Government to respond.

I call Barry Sheerman. Where is the fella? He has beetled out of the Chamber. That is very unlike the hon. Gentleman. I call Mr David Hanson.