Registering for the right to vote

11 January 2012

Peers including an electoral commissioner and two former party spokespeople for constitutional affairs will debate the Government’s policy on electoral registration on Thursday 12 January.

Lord Wills (Labour), who tabled and will open the debate, said:

“Voter registration is a technical issue but an important one. The struggle for the right to vote defines the history of our democracy but electoral registration makes that right a reality. However, the UK has a serious problem with voter registration: the Electoral Commission’s latest estimate suggests that at least 6 million people who are eligible to vote are not registered to do so.  
“I am concerned about the way in which the Government is introducing changes to electoral registration policy and the danger that their approach will lead to a further decline in registration.
“I hope our discussions will encourage the Government to look again at their proposals and make changes to their policy that will help reinvigorate our democracy.”

Other Members scheduled to speak include:

  • Lord Bach (Labour), Opposition Spokesperson for Justice;
  • Lord Beecham (Labour), Vice-President of the Local Government Association;
  • Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Labour), Electoral Commissioner for The Electoral Commission;
  • Lord Lipsey (Labour), former member of the Jenkins Commission on Electoral Reform; and
  • Lord Rennard (Liberal Democrat) and Lord Tyler (Liberal Democrat), both former Party Spokespeople for Constitutional Affairs.

Lord Borrie (Labour), Viscount Astor (Conservative), Lord Greaves (Liberal Democrat), Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws (Labour) and Lord Maxton (Labour) are also expected to take part in the debate.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (Liberal Democrat) will respond on behalf of the government.

The debate is open to media and the public. Please allow time for security screening.

The debate will also be broadcast live on Parliament TV.

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