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Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I am puzzled by most of the Minister's reply. I thought that I had attempted to delete lines 10 to 14. However, it appears that I have not done so and that they would remain in the Bill. Indeed, they are qualified by the beginning of subsection (2) where it states,


When I was a Government Minister I recall that I had to make the point constantly that I was reluctant to give examples because it then would be assumed that anything else would not be an example and would not fall within the scope of the legislation. For that reason, I find the use of the words "for example" most odd. Removing the words would not change the meaning of the following subsection; indeed, nothing would be changed.

When, nearly two hours ago, I suggested that certain unnecessary words should be removed from the Bill, the Minister persuaded me that I should not attempt to do it because of the Maastricht Treaty. I have now had an opportunity to look at the first Maastricht Treaty and it appears, so far as concerns the first treaty, that the position as the Minister explained it would not be the case. However, it may well be the case as regards the second Maastricht Treaty.

I do not believe that we should return to this matter, but I think that it is an important point. Why put in the words "for example" when there is no indication that they have been used elsewhere in primary legislation? They add nothing to the meaning of this part of the Bill. For that reason, I shall seek the opinion of the Committee.

5.13 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 14) shall be agreed to?

14 Feb 2000 : Column 952

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 69; Not-Contents, 134.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Aldington, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Biffen, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hanham, B
Hanningfield, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Jopling, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rees, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stewartby, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tenby, V.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Weatherill, L.
Young, B.

NOT-CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Diamond, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Geraint, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Gregson, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Levy, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Methuen, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Orme, L.
Paul, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L
Richard, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

14 Feb 2000 : Column 953

5.22 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 15 and 16 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 17:


    Page 5, line 32, at end insert--


("( ) Subsection (3) above shall apply in relation to a person's absence by reason of his attendance on a course provided by an educational institution as it applies in relation to a person's absence in the performance of any duty such as is mentioned in that subsection.").

The noble Lord said: Amendments Nos. 17 and 120 and part of Amendment No. 140 are designed to rectify an anomaly. Students now routinely obtain absent votes, even though, strictly speaking, the law does not include attendance at an educational establishment as one of the grounds on which an absent vote may be granted.

We should be doing everything we can to enable this group of electors, particularly young electors, to vote. Allowing students who are studying at an establishment some distance from their parental home to vote by proxy is one way of doing so. I am sure that Members of the Committee will agree that this is something which they should continue to be able to do.

The amendments, therefore, simply allow for attendance at an educational establishment to be included as ground for obtaining a proxy vote. Postal votes will, of course, in future be available to all.

14 Feb 2000 : Column 954

Amendments Nos. 131, 137, 138, 139, 142 and the rest of Amendment No. 140 are purely technical. They are consequential on the decision of the Scottish Parliament that provisions on absent voting in Scottish local elections should be included in the Bill. That is a matter with which we shall deal in more depth when we reach Amendments Nos. 118 and 119. A consequence of this is that references to local government elections in Sections 5 to 9 of the Representation of the People Act 1985 can be repealed as they will apply only to Northern Ireland but not to local elections. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4 [Residence: patients in mental hospitals who are not detained offenders or on remand]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 18:


    Page 6, leave out lines 3 to 9 and insert--


("(3) A person registered in a register of electors in pursuance of an application for registration made by virtue of subsection (2) above is entitled to remain so registered until--
(a) the end of the period of 12 months beginning with the date when the entry in the register first takes effect, or
(b) another entry made in respect of him in any register of electors takes effect (whether or not in pursuance of an application made by virtue of subsection (2)),
whichever first occurs.
(3A) Where the entitlement of such a person to remain so registered terminates by virtue of subsection (3) above, the registration officer concerned shall remove that person's entry from the register, unless he is entitled to remain registered in pursuance of a further application made by virtue of subsection (2).").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 18, tabled in the name of my noble friend Lord Bassam of Brighton, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 19, 37, 62 and 73.

The amendments are technical in nature. It is hoped that they will serve purposes which will be appreciated by the Committee. They either make matters explicit on the face of the Bill rather than leave them to be settled in secondary legislation or simplify the drafting of the Bill.

Amendments Nos. 18 and 19 bring Clauses 4 and 5, which provide for the registration of mental patients and remand prisoners, into line with the new Section 7C, which is inserted by Clause 6 of the Bill. The effect of the amendments is to make entitlement to be registered for a 12-month period explicit on the face of the Bill as opposed to being included in regulations.

Amendments Nos. 37, 62 and 73 simplify the drafting. They relate to registration by means of a declaration of local connection by service voters (Amendment No. 62, to Schedule 1) and overseas voters (Amendment No. 73, to Schedule 2). I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

14 Feb 2000 : Column 955

Clause 5 [Residence: persons remanded in custody etc.]


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