Motion to Consider
That the Grand Committee do consider the European Parliamentary Elections (Miscellaneous Provisions) (United Kingdom and Gibraltar) Order 2015.
Relevant document: 8th Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments
My Lords, the draft order relates to the functioning of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 as it applies to Gibraltar. The Act provides the regulatory framework for political parties and campaigners at elections and referendums. In 2004 the Act was updated to take account of the extension to Gibraltar of the franchise for European Parliament elections. This included establishing which Gibraltar individuals and bodies were eligible to campaign at European parliamentary elections in the south-west region, or to donate to political parties contesting those elections. As far as possible, the eligibility criteria follow the principles that determine which UK individuals and bodies are eligible to donate to political parties and campaign at national elections.
Noble Lords will be aware that the proposed referendum on our membership of the European Union will also take place in Gibraltar. As a result, the European Union Referendum Bill, currently being debated in the Chamber on Report, applies various provisions of the Act that deal with Gibraltar matters.
In drafting the EU Referendum Bill, and from discussions with the Government of Gibraltar, it has been clear that certain references to Gibraltar legislation in the Act are now out of date or otherwise inaccurate. To ensure the effective functioning of the EU referendum, as well as future European parliamentary elections, it is necessary to update and correct these references, and the order will deliver that.
The order also substitutes references to the “House of Assembly of Gibraltar” with references to the “Gibraltar Parliament”. The Gibraltar Parliament replaced the House of Assembly of Gibraltar as a result of the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006.
Finally, the order also removes certain redundant transitional provisions which accounted for circumstances before the publication of the first version of the Gibraltar electoral register for the purpose of European Parliament elections.
I reassure noble Lords that, in accordance with the Government’s statutory duty, the Electoral Commission has been consulted on this order and has confirmed that it is content with it. Officials have also worked closely with the Government of Gibraltar in preparing the order. I therefore commend it to the Committee.
My Lords, I have no comment to make about the order. It is all very straightforward, so I am very happy to support it.