33rd Report, 2012 (Session 4): Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill

SP Paper 161 (Web Only)

SL/S4/12/R33

33rd Report, 2012 (Session 4)

Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill

Remit and membership

Remit:

The remit of the Subordinate Legislation Committee is to consider and report on—

(a) any—

(i) subordinate legislation laid before the Parliament;

(ii) [deleted]

(iii) pension or grants motion as described in Rule 8.11A.1;

and, in particular, to determine whether the attention of the Parliament should be drawn to any of the matters mentioned in Rule 10.3.1;

(b) proposed powers to make subordinate legislation in particular Bills or other proposed legislation;

(c) general questions relating to powers to make subordinate legislation;

(d) whether any proposed delegated powers in particular Bills or other legislation should be expressed as a power to make subordinate legislation;

(e) any failure to lay an instrument in accordance with section 28(2), 30(2) or 31 of the 2010 Act; and

(f) proposed changes to the procedure to which subordinate legislation laid before the Parliament is subject.

(Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament, Rule 6.11)

Membership:

Chic Brodie
Nigel Don (Convener)
James Dornan (Deputy Convener)
Mike MacKenzie
Michael McMahon
John Pentland
John Scott

Committee Clerking Team:

Clerk to the Committee
Irene Fleming

Assistant Clerk
Rob Littlejohn

Support Manager
Daren Pratt

Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

1. At its meeting on 12 June 2012, the Committee considered the provisions in the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill1 (“the Bill”) that confer on the Scottish Ministers powers to make subordinate legislation.

2. A Legislative Consent Memorandum (“LCM”)2 has been lodged in relation to the Bill. The draft of the motion lodged by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth is:

“That the Parliament agrees that the relevant provisions of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 10 May 2012, relating to Individual Electoral Registration and absent voting and rejected postal votes, so far as these matters fall within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, should be considered by the UK Parliament.”

3. Under Standing Orders Rule 9B.3.6, where the Bill that is the subject of an LCM contains provisions that confer on the Scottish Ministers powers to make subordinate legislation, the Subordinate Legislation Committee shall consider and may report to the lead committee on those provisions.

4. As with bills passed by the Scottish Parliament, the Committee considered whether it is appropriate in principle for the power to be delegated to the Scottish Ministers, whether the terms of the power are appropriately drawn and whether the level of scrutiny applied to the exercise of the power is appropriate.

Electoral Registration and Administration Bill

5. The Bill contains provision about the registration of electors and the administration and conduct of elections.

6. There is only one provision that confers delegated powers on the Scottish Ministers. Subparagraph 7F of Schedule 4 to the Representation of the People Act 2000, as inserted by clause 20, provides for a power to specify in regulations made by the Scottish Ministers the circumstances in which, following close of poll in local government elections in Scotland, an electoral registration officer must notify a person that their postal ballot paper had been rejected.

7. The regulations are subject to the affirmative procedure and can make different provision for different cases, circumstances or areas. The regulations may contain incidental, supplemental saving or transitional provisions, as the Scottish Ministers think fit.

8. Further to the power, clause 20(2) amends section 7 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 so that the Electoral Commission also requires to be consulted on the regulations to be made by the Scottish Ministers.

Subordinate Legislation Committee consideration

9. At its meeting on 12 June 2012, the Committee considered the delegated powers provision in the Bill, following the same approach as it does for Scottish Parliament Bills. In doing so, it determined that it does not need to draw the attention of the Parliament to it.

Conclusions

10. The Committee is content with the powers conferred on the Scottish Ministers in clause 20(1) (so far as it inserts a new paragraph 7F in Schedule 4 to the Representation of the People Act 2000), and that the regulations are subject to the affirmative procedure.


Footnotes:

1 The latest version of the Bill can be found at: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/electoralregistrationandadministration.html

2 LCM on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill. Available at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/LegislativeConsentMemoranda/UKERABill-lcm.pdf

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