§ Lord Alderdice
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will ensure that, in the event of a referendum on a political settlement, the Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1986 will be amended to ensure that all recognised political parties in Northern Ireland will be supplied with free copies of the electoral register, including data copies, for all constituencies in Northern Ireland; and [HL628]
Whether they will amend the Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1986 in order to grant a statutory right to receive copies, including data copies, of the relevant electoral register to:
- (a) prospective candidates for a Northern Ireland Assembly
- (b) prospective candidates for the European Parliament. [HL629]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs)
These questions are currently being considered by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland alongside many other issues surrounding not only a referendum but also Assembly elections and electoral procedures more generally. No entitlement exists anywhere in the UK for a free issue of the electoral register in computer data format. Those entitled to free copies of the electoral register in printed format are entitled to purchase the register in computer data format at the special rate of £1.80p per thousand names. The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland has indicated that he will supply two free copies of the 13WA printed register, on request, to each of the parties who obtained delegates as a result of the May 1996 elections. They will be able to obtain one copy of the register in computer data format at the discounted price.