Draft Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Regulations 2001

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Mr. Simon Hughes: It would be helpful if the Minister would answer, or answer again, the question of whether there could be, once the regulations have come into force, under either policy or law, an automatic entitlement in Northern Ireland to the consolidated register rather than the separate registers, to which this second amendment applies. Even if such an entitlement cannot be established, will the Minister undertake to use his best offices to ensure that access to that register is a practical possibility, and talk to his colleagues in other Departments to ensure that that is possible across the UK?

Mr. Howarth: I shall give such an undertaking to the hon. Gentleman.

For the purposes of absolute clarity, I would like to respond to the point made by the hon. Member for Basingstoke. Only certain categories of people such as Members of Parliament, or certain organisations, will have free copies. Others will have to pay, and the regulations in relation to that will be considered later on this year. I hope that that reassures both the hon. Member for Basingstoke and the hon. Member for Spelthorne.

As regards the point made by the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey, I will draw the matter to the attention of the relevant Ministers in other Departments.

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee has considered the draft Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Regulations 2001.

        Committee rose at six minutes past Five o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
O'Brien, Mr. Bill (Chairman)
Brinton, Mrs.
Howarth, Mr. George
Hughes, Mr. Simon
Hunter, Mr.
Jones, Helen
Lepper, Mr.
McCabe, Mr.
Moffatt, Laura
Salter, Mr.
Sutcliffe, Mr.
Wilshire, Mr.

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