The Tories haven’t given up…

4th February, 2013 10:30 am

Last Tuesday’s vote in the House of Commons on parliamentary boundaries was a good victory for the Labour Party.  The vote meant that the advantage which the Conservatives had planned for themselves at the next General Election in 2015 was removed.  The bookies have adjusted their odds on the next election accordingly.

But it would be wrong to believe that the Tories have given-up the fight or have stopped trying to manipulate electoral arrangements.  Immediately after the vote on Tuesday, another short debate took place on further amendments from the House of Lords on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill which had earlier been changed.  This time, one of the amendments concerned the start date for individual electoral registration (IER).  The Tories had proposed a further ‘compromise’ amendment, under pressure from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Although sounding very technical, IER is a vitally important issue and it goes to the heart of our representative democracy.  It is about how the electoral register is drawn-up or, simply put, who can and cannot vote.

Most commentators believe that when the change from the current system of household registration to individual registration is made, the number of people on the register, and therefore eligible to vote, will fall significantly.  This of itself would hit Labour badly, but there would be a double whammy because, in future, parliamentary boundaries must be of equal size and will be determined by the number of people on the electoral register.  In December 2015, full IER will be introduced and the next boundary review will be based on that register.  The consequences for Labour could be serious.

In the Commons, and then in the Lords, Labour argued for a delay of one year in the introduction of IER to December 2016.  That would have allowed an extra year to get more people on the register and would have allowed the next boundary review to be carried-out on a more complete register.

The Government did in fact propose a change to the Bill, making December 2016 the start date for IER.  But, in proposing the amendment in both the Lords and the Commons, the Government made it clear that the change was more apparent than real.  Despite changing the start date, the Government said that they were still committed to the introduction of IER in December 2015 and ensured that the Bill had a mechanism to allow them to do this.  That reversal however can only come about if the Conservatives are still in power after the next election.

That is why I say that although the Tories may have suffered a significant defeat last Tuesday, they have not abandoned their attempts to twist and distort electoral arrangements for their long-term advantage.  What is now important is that Labour does not rest on its laurels but continues to take the fight to the Government and begins serious work on what needs to be done with regard to parliamentary boundaries and electoral registration after 2015.

Wayne David
Shadow Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform and MP for Caerphilly

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]

Latest

  • Featured News Momentum set to mobilise thousands to back Corbyn this weekend

    Momentum set to mobilise thousands to back Corbyn this weekend

    Corbynite pressure group Momentum is expected to muster thousands of activists in a series of emergency rallies to counter what it describes as the “deeply undemocratic” efforts to oust Jeremy Corbyn. In response to the no confidence vote earlier this week, the left-wing faction has organised rallies and events in order to demonstrate grassroots support for Corbyn, as well as his anti-war and anti-austerity policies. Protests have been planned in Manchester, Liverpool, Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance for the weekend, as well as emergency meetings to bring together […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News McDonnell: Rebels’ leadership bid will land in the “next few days”

    McDonnell: Rebels’ leadership bid will land in the “next few days”

      John McDonnell today confirmed expectations that Jeremy Corbyn would face a leadership election in the “next few days” as he used a Brexit speech to highlight the imminent “end” of freedom of movement. The shadow Chancellor repeated his vow never to stand as Labour leader and struck a relaxed tone, after a week of turmoil, as he told backbench MPs to “calm down”. McDonnell, a longstanding ally of Corbyn, confirmed he would chair his friend’s campaign once again as expectations […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Scotland Dugdale and Khan join forces to protect jobs after Brexit vote

    Dugdale and Khan join forces to protect jobs after Brexit vote

    Sadiq Khan and Kezia Dugdale today vowed to work together to protect London and Scotland from an economic hit after the Brexit vote. In a move drawing together the two areas of the UK which voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union – as well as Northern Ireland – the pair developed plans for how both economies could withstand the economic turmoil of leaving the EU. The politicians are expected to stay in regular contact throughout the Brexit negotiations […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Alison McGovern: We may have a Brexit hangover but now is the time to listen to Labour’s local leaders

    Alison McGovern: We may have a Brexit hangover but now is the time to listen to Labour’s local leaders

    Politics and government are different activities and while the corridors of power are buzzing with the former, the latter is in short supply. Westminster at the moment is in a state of paralysis, poleaxed by a referendum result that few wanted and even fewer predicted. But across the rest of the country, the show goes on. It is notable the first off the blocks in response to Brexit were leaders of devolved administrations, in Scotland, Wales and London. While Westminster […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News LIVEBLOG: Afternoon round-up

    LIVEBLOG: Afternoon round-up

    Corbyn is still putting together a new frontbench as speculation rises about the intentions of Angela Eagle and Owen Smith. While the Labour Party is in limbo, we will bring you all the news as it comes. Friday – 15.44 Hello all, here’s your afternoon round-up of what’s gone on within the Labour party so far today.  1) Angela Rayner has been promoted to shadow Education Secretary Jeremy bringing together Education Women & Equalities in Shadow Cabinet to directly hold Nicky […]

    Read more →
x

LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends










Submit