Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill — Education about electoral and democratic systems — 14 Feb 2000

John Prescott MP, Kingston upon Hull East did not vote.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill .

Question proposed , That this schedule be the Second schedule to the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule 2 agreed to.

I beg to move amendment No. 20, in page 2, line 36, leave out 'chairman of the'.

Amendment No. 20 is even more important, against the background of the debates of the past hour. We have tried and, sadly, failed to inject a greater element of impartiality into the composition of the Speaker's Committee than is set out in the Bill.

People can be appointed as commissioners with the agreement of the Chairman of the Speaker's Committee. We established in the previous debate that the Chairman of the Speaker's Committee could be, for example, the Chairman of the Select Committee on Home Affairs who, for as long as I can remember, has always been a member of the governing party.

The amendment would change the wording from

"with the agreement of the chairman of the Speaker's Committee"

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn .

I beg to move amendment No. 21, in page 3, line 11, at end add--

'(7) At least three members of the Commission (one of whom shall be the Chairman of the Commission appointed under section 1(5)) shall be drawn from the following categories:

(1) judges or retired judges of the High Court of England and Wales

(2) judges or retired judges of the Court of Session of Scotland

(3) judges or retired judges of the High Court of Northern Ireland

(4) Lords Justices of Appeal of England and Wales

(5) Lords of Appeals in Ordinary

(6) the Comptroller and Auditor General

(7) the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

(8) the Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I beg to move amendment No. 37, in page 4, line 6, at end insert--

'( ) Any report submitted to the Secretary of State under subsections (1) and (2) shall be--

(a) placed in the House of Commons Library on the same day as it is presented to the Secretary of State; and

(b) debated in the House of Commons within one month of the day it is presented to the Secretary of State.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I beg to move amendment No. 25, in page 4, line 30, after 'Commission', insert--

', and secure its approval'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn .

Clause 6 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I beg to move amendment No. 7, in clause 8, page 5, line 35, leave out 'on request'.

The words "on request" are appropriate in the context of subsection (1), but do not fit the intention behind this provision. As well as enabling the Electoral Commission to provide general advice and assistance--for example on points of law or procedure--to electoral administrators, political parties and others, subsection (3) is the mechanism whereby the commission can promote best practice. To do that, it must be able to give advice on its own initiative, and not be restricted to providing advice only on request. We expect the commission to use the provision to disseminate best practice guidance to the registration and returning officers and to assist them in raising the standards for discharging their functions to the best.

The commission might be expected to use its powers under the clause to ensure that accounting and political parties' other practices meet the minimum standard that the Bill and subordinate instruments require. The amendment would allow the commission to advocate best practice on its own initiative rather than at the request of others.

Mr. Walter:

I shall not delay our proceedings for long. We are anxious that if the phrase "on request" is removed, and the provision reads:

Amendment agreed to .

Clause 8, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill .

I beg to move amendment No. 11, in page 6, line 42, leave out from 'broadcasts' to end of line 2 on page 7.

The Second Deputy Chairman:

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 10, in page 7, line 4, at end insert--

It being Ten o'clock, The Chairman left the Chair to report progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report progress.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business),

That, at this day's sitting, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.-- [Mr. Mike Hall.]

Question agreed to.

Again considered in Committee.

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I beg to move amendment No. 4, in page 7, line 16, leave out from 'party' to end of line 20.

14 Feb 2000 : Column 700

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move amendment No. 5, in page 8, line 5, leave out '2' and insert '10'.

The Second Deputy Chairman:

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 39, in page 8, line 7, leave out subsection (9).

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 10 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

I beg to move amendment No. 29, in page 8, leave out line 10 and insert--

'(a) the electoral systems in use for the time being in the elections mentioned in section 19(3).'.

The clause is a major departure from the Neill report, and a measure that it warned against.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn .

Amendment proposed: No. 30, in page 8, line 11, leave out from second 'government' to end of line 12.-- [Sir George Young.]

The Committee divided: Ayes 126, Noes 309.

Historical Hansard | Online Hansard |

Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 124 (+2 tell)078.3%
Lab295 (+2 tell) 0071.2%
LDem13 0028.3%
SNP1 0016.7%
UUP0 2020.0%
Total:309 126068.6%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

NameConstituencyPartyVote
no rebellions

About the Project

The Public Whip is a not-for-profit, open source website created in 2003 by Francis Irving and Julian Todd and now run by Bairwell Ltd.

There are lots of plans afoot, including extensive redevelopment of the site and plans for new functionality. To keep up with what's happening, please check out the blog. We're working on updating all the contact details throughout the site, but if you'd like to talk to us about the project, please email [email protected]

The Whip on the Web

Advertisement - Helping keeping PublicWhip alive