Elections Bill — Decline Second Reading — Voter ID — Overseas Voters — Postal Vote Misuse — 7 Sep 2021 at 18:50
The majority of MPs voted to require the production of identification to vote at a polling station in Parliamentary elections, to seek to prevent the corrupt use of postal votes and to allow British Citizens living overseas to vote, even if they have been out of the country for more than fifteen years.
The motion under consideration was:
- That the Bill be now read a Second time.
The motion/amendment rejected in this vote was:
- That this House
- declines to give a second reading to the Elections Bill, notwithstanding the need for legislation around digital imprints and some accessibility improvements for disabled voters which do not go far enough, because it infringes on the right of expression of the electorate by allowing the Secretary of State to unilaterally modify and select which groups are allowed to campaign during an election period, creates unnecessary barriers to entry for voting, makes the Electoral Commission subordinate to the executive, would serve to restrict the franchise and thereby reduce the overall number of people able to participate in any future UK General Election and does not make provision for the UK Parliament to match the devolved nations in Scotland and Wales by extending the right to vote to 16 and 17 year olds and other disenfranchised groups.
Notably the amendment was presented in the form of an alternative motion rather than as an amendment to the original.
- * introduce a requirement for identification to vote at polling station in Parliamentary elections. Acceptable identification includes certain passports, driving licences, travel cards, blue badges (as used by disabled people in relation to parking), and electoral identity documents.
- * require electoral registration officers to provide a photographic "electoral identity document" or "anonymous elector’s document" as appropriate, free of charge, on request.
- * generally make it an offence for a political campaigner to handle someone else's postal vote.
- * to create offences connected with the communication of the official mark, or number, from the back of a ballot paper.
- * remove the limit of 15 years after leaving the UK on "the exercise of voting rights currently placed on British electors living overseas".
- * restrict third-party spending on election campaigns to UK based entities and eligible Overseas Electors.
- * introduce a new disqualification order which a court must impose, "if a person is convicted of an intimidatory criminal offence motivated by hostility towards a candidate, future candidate, campaigner, substitute or nominee (in Northern Ireland), or holder of a relevant elective office. The effect of a disqualification order is that the person will be disqualified from standing for, being elected to, and holding any relevant elective office for five years."
- * require "digital campaigning material to display a digital imprint, with the name and address of the promoter of the material or any person on behalf of whom the material is being published"
The question put to a vote, and rejected, was:
- That the amendment be made.
Support for the second reading would enable the Bill to continue on its path to becoming law.
-  Parliament's webpage on the Elections Bill, Parliament.uk
-  Elections Bill, as introduced, 5 July 2021, Parliament.uk
-  Explanatory notes to the Elections Bill, as introduced, 5 July 2021, Parliament.uk
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.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||321 (+2 tell)||0||0||88.7%|
|Lab||0||170 (+2 tell)||0||86.4%|