Debates between Baroness Noakes and Lord Rennard during the 2019 Parliament

Thu 10th Mar 2022
Elections Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 2 & Committee stage: Part 2

Elections Bill

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Lord Rennard
Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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I am going to let my noble friend the Minister answer all this in detail because I am not a government spokesman on this. I was merely offering my opinion on the timeframe. When we get to the stand part debate, I am going to offer some other opinions about why these statements are useful in the context of regulators.

My concern is to see that these statements are strategic in nature and that means not short term in nature. They should be seen in that context. The timeframe of five years is fine for that, but I am going to leave my noble friend the Minister to respond in more detail to the broader questions that the noble Lord has asked.

Lord Rennard Portrait Lord Rennard (LD)
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My Lords, these amendments may lead to some mitigation of the effects of the Government taking control of the strategy and policy of the Electoral Commission if the Bill is passed in its present form. If Clauses 14 and 15 are not taken out of the Bill, as they should be, we can still limit some of the damage by preventing the party in power continually changing the statement in accordance with its own interests.

Amendment 3 would not allow a new statement 12 months after the Act is passed, while Amendment 13 tests how often the Government might seek to change such a statement. As the noble Lord, Lord Collins, pointed out, the amendments probe the Government’s intention in relation to the timings and processes of the proposed strategy and policy statement to which the Electoral Commission will be subject. The governing party appears to want to emasculate the role of the independent watchdog.