Last Wednesday saw Nick Clegg return for his annual appearance before the House of Lords Constitution Committee. As one might expect, a whole range of political reform and constitutional issues were covered in the 90 minute evidence session.
One interesting answer by the Deputy Prime Minister which caught my attention was on the topic of individual voter registration. Asked by Liberal Democrat peer Lord (Chris) Rennard whether there would be changes to the government approach as set out in the earlier White Paper when we see legislation on the issue soon, Clegg had the following to say:
The short answer is ‘yes’….We set out our proposals [and] a large number of comments, and indeed very heartfelt concerns, have been raised about what it actually would mean for the register in the future….We will be producing very shortly…our response to the Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s report on this, which will include a lot of our new ideas, responding not to all of the concerns – and some of the concerns we think are misplaced or are exaggerated – but it’s certainly prompted us to look very, very long and hard at a number of issues.
…[w]hat we are trying to do here is firstly bear down on fraud – that’s the central motivation of all of this – but to do so in a way which doesn’t needlessly or carelessly disenfranchise people.
The whole evidence session is available to watch until Sunday night on the BBC iPlayer.
* Nick Thornsby is Thursday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs here.