Peer backs edited electoral register in debate on electoral reform

Liberal Democrat Lord Tyler says the register has good uses and should continue

House of Lords
House of Lords

A Liberal Democrat peer gave his backing to the edited electoral register in a debate about government policy on electoral reform in the House of Lords yesterday.

Lord Tyler told peers that improving the electoral registration system could help in the areas of businesses selling to customers, credit reference agencies and countering fraud. "For some of these reasons, I feel that the edited register should continue," he said.

The register does not contain details of people who have opted out of receiving marketing materials and is available for general purchase. It is used by many charities in their fundraising, and the Institute of Fundraising has been warning that it might be abolished.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Wallace of Saltaire said during the debate that he had received a letter from "a number of charities, which talked about the importance of access to the register in order to send out fundraising letters".

The debate followed the publication of a report by the Politics and Constitutional Reform Committee in November 2011, in which MPs recommended the register be abolished.

The IoF this week lobbied Lords who were due to take part in the debate said it was pleased with how yesterday’s debate had gone.

"We’re very pleased because it means that our concerns are being listened to at last," she said. "I think until now the concerns of the sector have been regarded as peripheral, so we’re pleased they’re being taken into account now."

Richards said the institute would now be lobbying any MPs it thought might take part in another debate on individual voter registration that is due to take place in the Commons on Monday.

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