Elections Bill Debate

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Department: Cabinet Office
Lord Khan of Burnley Portrait Lord Khan of Burnley (Lab)
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My Lords, I will briefly address the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Hayward. There is an anomaly. The Welsh Senedd has made this clear and made important changes so I am sure that we can get this simple amendment accepted, in the spirit of the previous group. The Minister—I am glad to see him back in his place; I wish him the very best of health—accepted the previous amendments, so I am sure that it will be straightforward for him to accept these ones. I look forward to his response.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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My Lords, with respect to Amendments 31 to 33 and 38, under the current law, a person who is nominated as a candidate must give their full name. They may also provide a commonly used forename or surname, which must be different to any of the names already given, that they would like to have included on the ballot paper. My noble friend Lord Hayward has highlighted that this does not, for example, facilitate the use of a middle name where someone is commonly known by such a name.

My noble friend’s amendments would widen the scope of the current provisions concerning the use of commonly used names by candidates. They would allow a person to include on their nomination paper any name that they commonly use as a forename or surname. For example, under this amendment, a candidate would be able to choose to use their middle name if that is a commonly known name for them. A candidate may also use a commonly used forename and surname on the ballot paper.

When my noble friend raised this issue in Committee, the Minister, my noble friend Lord True, indicated that the suggestions had some merit. After further consideration, I am pleased to say that the Government consider that these are sensible changes and we are able to support my noble friend’s amendments.

Lord Hayward Portrait Lord Hayward (Con)
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My Lords, I note the welcome for that from all sides of the House. I am getting slightly embarrassed—this is the second time this afternoon that I have had support from all sides of the House on amendments I have put forward. I thank the Minister for her support and favourable response.