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Electoral Commission

Volume 696: debated on Tuesday 20 November 2007

My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today published the Government’s response to the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s 11th report, Review of the Electoral Commission (Cm 7272).

On behalf of the Government, I would like to thank the former chairman, Sir Alistair Graham, interim chair, Rita Donaghy, and members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life for their hard work in conducting a review of the Electoral Commission and producing a detailed and stimulating report. The Government are grateful to the committee for thoroughly examining the issues and making recommendations for improvement. This was a useful review marking some six years since the Electoral Commission was created.

Some of the committee’s recommendations are directed at the Government, while others are directed at the Electoral Commission and the Speaker’s Committee. The Electoral Commission and Association of Electoral Administrators published responses in March and April respectively. The Speaker’s Committee published its response to the recommendations relevant to it in August. The Government have carefully considered and taken into account the views of these and other interested parties before publishing their own response.

The Government are committed to a strong, effective and independent Electoral Commission and are keen to take forward recommendations that they believe will enable the Electoral Commission more effectively to carry out its dual role as regulator of party funding and campaign expenditure and in electoral administration.

The importance of a proactive, focused and effective Electoral Commission acting as a strong regulator is vital to protecting and enhancing the health of our democratic system.

The Government are committed to working with the Electoral Commission and other relevant bodies to put in place necessary arrangements and legislation to assist the Electoral Commission in improving its overall effectiveness.