Inter-ministerial Group for Elections and Registration meeting: March 2022

Communiqué from the meeting of the Inter-ministerial Group for Elections and Registration (IMG Elections) on 8 March 2022.

The aim of the Interministerial Group (IMG) for Elections and Registration is to consider shared issues relating to elections and electoral registration. It is led by the relevant Ministers with election policy in their portfolio.

The meeting on 8 March 2022 was chaired by George Adam MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business, Scottish Government.

The other attending ministers were:

From the UK Government:

  • Kemi Badenoch MP, Minister of State, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • The Rt Hon Conor Burns MP, Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

From the Welsh Government:

  • Mick Antoniw MS, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution

Minister Badenoch provided an update on the UK Government’s Elections Bill, advising that the Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 23 February. More information is now in the public domain including policy statements on voter identification, the new Voter Card and the plans for overseas electors. Minister Badenoch recognised that the Ministers Adam and Antoniw hold differing views on some of the measures in the Bill.

Minister Badenoch outlined the implementation programme for the provisions in the Bill and confirmed that it is the ambition of the UK Government for all the necessary changes to be implemented this parliamentary term. Ministers discussed the challenges of the implementation timetable and the need for ongoing engagement.

Minister Antoniw set out the Welsh Government’s plans for local government elections pilots looking at improving accessibility, including advanced voting. The results of the pilots would influence future legislative priorities.

Minister Adam shared plans to take forward a Reform and Representation Bill during the current session of the Scottish Parliament. The Bill will have an aim to improve the accessibility of elections, with a particular focus on voters with sight-loss.

Minister Burns confirmed that no substantive elections legislation is in train for Northern Ireland other than expected secondary legislation relating to the Elections Bill.

The next meeting will take place after the local government elections in May 2022 and will be arranged in due course.

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