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Lord Renton: My Lords, I scarcely ever disagree with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, on a drafting matter. He is a great expert. Over many years he has been a great supporter of the committee of which I had the honour to be chairman. However, with regard to the amendments he now proposes one should work on the principle that if words are not necessary it is necessary not to include them.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale: My Lords, I knew that someone would say that. I had hoped that it would not come from the noble Lord, Lord Renton.

Lord Renton: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord has referred to a well established practice; and indeed it

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is well established. I rather think that it may have prevailed in the drafting of statutes throughout this century. I have not studied closely enough the statutes of the previous century; but I really wonder whether we should add these extra words. I do not believe that it makes the matter more user friendly. I think that it just leaves the provision where it already is.

Lord Brightman: My Lords, I respectfully agree with the noble Lord, Lord Renton. I hope that my noble and learned friend Lord Simon of Glaisdale will not take it amiss if I tell your Lordships that if we accede to the principle of the amendments to achieve drafting consistency we shall have to add on my count no less than 54 additional words to the Bill.

The Lord Advocate (Lord Hardie): My Lords, as the noble and learned Lord who moved the amendment explained, the amendments insert the words "and" or "or" into various lists which appear in Clauses 3 and 5. In those clauses, as in the rest of the Bill, the conjunctions are inserted only before the last item in each list. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, observed, it is a well established drafting convention followed in this and many other Bills that in lists such as these the conjunction indicating whether the items on the list are cumulative or alternative is inserted only before the last item.

I accept that the approach suggested by the noble and learned Lord would work equally well. It is a question of style rather than substance. However, as I said, and as the noble Lord, Lord Renton, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brightman, indicated, we would not support the amendment. We have followed the accustomed and established convention of drafting, and the courts and other users of the Bill will have no trouble determining the intention of Parliament on these provisions.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Renton, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brightman, for raising an issue which, in view of my youth and inexperience, it would have been inappropriate for me to do.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale: My Lords, the matter having been ventilated, I cannot claim universal support. Indeed, when the noble Lord, Lord Renton, and my noble and learned friend take the opposite view, it obviously calls for caution on my part. As to what my noble and learned friend said about 54 extra words having to be added to the Bill if the amendment were adopted, I say only that I can guarantee to show that twice that number in the statute are unnecessary. Having said that, and having ventilated a matter which may be considered further academically, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5 [Candidates]:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 3, line 16, at end insert ("and any list of such candidates, submitted to the regional returning officer, shall appear on the ballot paper for regional members in that region.").

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The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 2 has been tabled to complete the discussions we have had on the issue. The Government have conceded the point that on the second top-up ballot the names of the candidates should be put down. The Government did not agree in Committee. However, by Report stage they had changed their mind and accepted the argument we put forward, partly driven by the fact that the Home Office had accepted the argument as regards the European elections and the lists there. The poor Welsh Office has been left behind because its Bill moved into law before the Government realised that it was a good thing to place names on the second ballot paper. However, I hope that they will do so as regards the Welsh elections.

I am grateful that we now have from the Government a sample of three drafts of the layout of the second ballot. It may be useful to have some discussion as to what might be the better arrangement. It is difficult to explain the drafts without the use of modern technology, overhead projectors and holding up the drafts, but none would be within the rules of order. Briefly, one of the ballot papers lists the candidates in vertical order, so there is a list numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The order of the list is very important because it determines who is elected. If only one person is to be elected, it will be No. 1; if two are to be elected, it will be Nos. 1 and 2, and so on. Therefore the ordering is important.

The other two ballot papers list the order horizontally in four columns. They read 1, 2, 3, 4 and then 5, 6 and 7, so that 5 comes below 1. I hope that that is clear to your Lordships who have not seen the draft. However, for my money, because the order is of such importance, I believe that the vertical numbering is the best and most obvious for the electorate to understand.

For reasons unbeknown to me, the officials preparing the draft ballot papers have chosen an interesting way of identifying people. The Conservative Party candidates are known by fruits; the Labour Party candidates by flowers; the Liberal Democrat candidates by trees; and, appropriately enough, the Greens by root vegetables. The Scottish National Party candidates are known by animals; I am not sure Alex Salmond will like that.

Perhaps I may use as an illustration the Labour list. Rose Hyacinth comes at the top. Clearly, the civil servant watches television. She is followed by Daffodil Tulip. It is clear from the vertical ordering that Rose Hyacinth would be No. 1 and that if the Labour Party won one seat, Rose Hyacinth would win. Daffodil Tulip would be No. 2, which is obvious, too. However, the trouble with the horizontal listing is that it is not clear whether Daffodil Tulip or Freesia Crocus would be No. 2--and I believe that I understand the electoral system! I know not what the poor electorate would make of drafts 2 and 3.

Noble Lords will, I believe, want to contribute to the debate. It will be interesting to hear whether Ministers have come to any decision. I believe that the vertical ordering is the most important.

Another important point concerns the draft ballot papers. They will contain the symbols, the emblems, of the political parties if the Registration of Political Parties

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Bill is passed. It is amazing that in a country which believes it has attained pretty good literacy levels we have to return to what is done in countries where literacy is not high--except in the United States--and put symbols or emblems on the ballot paper. I do not believe that we shall see elephants and other animals, but we shall see symbols.

A problem in respect of the Registration of Political Parties Bill is that while in Scotland the parties can call themselves the Scottish Conservative Party, the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats, they will be able to use only one UK symbol. That is not a problem for the Labour Party or the Liberal Democrats, but it is a problem for the Conservative Party which in both Scotland and Wales has chosen different symbols from the torch used by the party in England.

I am sure that the Government did not intend to have a go at the Conservative Party when they framed the Bill. I hope that the Minister will contact his colleagues in the Home Office and explain the difficulties which will be caused for the Conservatives in Scotland and Wales and see whether we can resolve the issue before the various Bills, in particular the registration Bill, complete their passage through your Lordships' House this month. I beg to move.

Viscount Thurso: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, for his explanation of why the amendment has reappeared in exactly the same form as on Report. Had he not described it as an opportunity for a debate on the ballot papers, since he is averse to reading his own speeches I should have read his comment as meaning that he was content that the provision was not on the face of the Bill. I assume that he will not be insisting on the amendment but proposes it in order to initiate debate on the ballot papers.

I have not had an opportunity to study the different draft papers, but, from the noble Lord's description, the vertical lists makes considerably more sense. Although I am interested in the choice name of "Mrs. Bucket" to lead the Labour Party, I am not sure whether in standing for the Liberal Democrats I am an oak, an elm or a rowan.

With regard to symbols, the noble Lord dismissed the lack of literacy in this country. I should not be so quick to do so. A substantial number of people in this country have failed to come out of the school system with adequate literacy skills. Even if they are a small minority they should not be disadvantaged. Despite the problem he raised in respect of the Scottish Conservatives' symbol, it is important that symbols appear if they will help people.

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