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Committee backs Lords amendment to scrap Government proposals for new powers over elections watchdog

21 April 2022

In a letter to Michael Gove published today, the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has strongly urged the Government to scrap its proposals for new powers over the elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission, and to accept an amendment to the Elections Bill when it returns to House of Lords on Monday 25 April.

Committee Chair William Wragg MP restates concerns with the lack of public consultation on the Government’s proposals, calling them an "unacceptable risk to the functioning of our democracy”. The amendment in the House of Lords mirrors a recommendation of the Committee in its December report into the Elections Bill, calling for the removal of the offending clauses from the Bill.

The Committee is also calling on Michael Gove to urgently provide the data which led the Government to conclude that proposed voter ID provisions are “proportionate” after the Levelling Up Secretary committed in an evidence session to supplying the Committee with “all the data required” to this end. The Committee said in its December report that the Government had not adequately assessed the proportionality of the measure to require photographic ID at polling stations, risking disenfranchisement of large numbers of people, and highlighted particular concerns over the lack of data on the impact of the proposal on minority groups. The Committee has requested a detailed response to its letter by Friday 22 April, in time for the Bill’s next stages in the House of Lords on Monday 25 April. This letter will be published once it has been received.

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