HC Deb 19 October 1999 vol 336 c434W
Mr. Linton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to publish the final report of the Home Office Working Party on Electoral Procedures. [94816]

Mr. Straw

I have today placed a copy of the Working Party's Report in the Library and it will also be published on the Home Office's internet website.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, North and Sefton, East (Mr. Howarth), now Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and all the members of his Working Party, on a report that will be a major landmark in this country's electoral history. The existing procedures have served us well but are now well over a hundred years old and do not fully reflect modern conditions of life and work. The Working Party has gone out of its way to ensure that the integrity and openness of our electoral system will still be maintained into the next century.

I am very pleased to see the cross-party consensus that was achieved within the Working Party as this is essential to any aspect of electoral legislation.

I commend the Working Party's report to the House. The majority of its recommendations will require primary legislation, and I shall be seeking the earliest practical opportunity for a Bill. I look forward to cross-party co-operation that will ensure a swift and smooth passage for this excellent set of proposals.