Debates between Lord Desai and Lord True during the 2019 Parliament

Mon 21st Mar 2022
Elections Bill
Lords Chamber

Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage: Part 1

Elections Bill

Debate between Lord Desai and Lord True
Lords Hansard - Part 1 & Committee stage
Monday 21st March 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Elections Act 2022 View all Elections Act 2022 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 96-V Fifth marshalled list for Committee - (21 Mar 2022)
Lord Desai Portrait Lord Desai (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, I shall make a very short point about Amendment 80. The noble Lord should look carefully at whether many of these indicators are male-oriented. Women do not have their names on documents such as mortgage statements and utility bills. It would make more sense to have one particular card, as the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, suggested. It would be personal, in the name of the man or woman.

I want to add that I have my Freedom Pass in London. It is a very good thing. I could show it around.

Lord True Portrait Lord True (Con)
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My Lords, again I thank all those who have spoken in the debate. The noble Lord, Lord Adonis, outside what he imagined to be the walls of Jericho, sounded a very loud trumpet call to lead his Front Bench into a battle over the Salisbury convention. I will not pursue this. It is for everybody in the House to decide to what extent the opinion of the other place and the Government’s manifesto should be respected or not. I made a statement about that at the beginning of our proceedings.

I was asked about the card and the words “is or has”. I shall come to this shortly because it is important. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, that any voter who does not have one of the forms of identification listed in the Bill will be able to apply for a voter card. There is a wide range. I know that my noble friend Lord Willetts wants to extend it. The card is supplementary. All the other types of identification are listed. Expired identification will also be permitted. Not every elector will be required to have the voter card. People will be able to apply for it at the same time as they register to vote, so the process will be as easy and accessible as possible. If they are already registered and need a voter card, they will be able to apply online, on paper or in person. It is our ambition that they will be able to do so until 5 pm on the day before polling day. That was challenged by the noble Lord, Lord Scriven. I will come back to it. The Government would regard that as unnecessarily restrictive.

I am not a parliamentary draftsman, but I am advised that the wording,

“is or has applied to be”

is there because, on the wording of Amendment 64, it could be construed that someone who is applying should be able to get it. You obviously have to be on the register to get the voter card. Either you are on it, or you have applied to register. You send your letter or your online application in. With both applications, the process will be that the registration officer will check the correctness of the application to register. When someone is on the register, they will be able to have the voter card. It is sequential, but the application can be done at the same time. This is the purport of why these words are there.