Sadiq Khan MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, commenting on today’s Opposition Day debate on individual electoral registration, said:
"Today was an opportunity for all members of the House to debate in a constructive manner how the move to individual electoral registration may have an impact on the numbers of people registered to vote. While Labour supports the move to individual registration – and in fact legislated for it in 2009 – we are concerned that the Tory-led Government’s speeded-up plans have removed the safeguards that were in place to prevent any fall in registration levels.
"Many organisations, campaign groups, charities and indeed MPs from all sides are concerned that the proposals could lead to millions of people dropping off the electoral register. Not only would this be an affront to our democracy, it threatens to undermine the wider uses of the register – such as pulling together juries, enabling credit checks and the police using it as a tool in tackling crime.
"Therefore, it is a shame that – despite the tone of today’s debate – the Minister has not sought fit to take on board the issues raised, particularly concerning the removal of the legal duty to respond to a request to complete a registration form. I hope that in the coming weeks and months the Minister will realise that any watering down of the civic duty to register to vote would be a grave mistake."