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Elections Policy: Departmental Transfer

Volume 719: debated on Thursday 8 September 2022

8. Whether the Committee has made an assessment of the implications for its work of the transfer of elections policy from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities. (901374)

The Speaker’s Committee has not made any such assessment. However, the change in ministerial responsibility has had an impact on the Committee in a number of ways. As I mentioned in a previous answer, the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Mr Wragg) has been replaced as an ex officio member of the Committee by the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts). The Commission reports that it will continue to work closely with the team of civil servants, which has moved Departments. It has also had several meetings with responsible Ministers at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in particular to discuss the implementation of the Elections Act.

The governance of elections is of course a very important matter, and it was rather bizarrely removed from the portfolio of the Cabinet Office by the previous Prime Minister and entrusted to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Can the representative of the Speaker’s Committee provide any clarity on whether that will continue, and what consideration has he given to the merits of transferring the responsibility back to the Cabinet Office?

I thank the hon. Lady for that question, but the Committee will simply respond to however the Government organise themselves. It is a matter for the Government and the Prime Minister to allocate different responsibilities among different parties, and the Speaker’s Committee will respond accordingly.