CABINET OFFICE – POSTAL VOTING – 15 September 2010

Dr Julian Lewis: My hon. Friend is taking steps that go a considerable way towards restoring integrity to individual voting, but may I reinforce the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Andrew Tyrie), that, given that we value individual booths for privacy at the polling station, the over-extension of postal voting destroys that degree of privacy, at least within households? The Minister should look at this question again. People should have postal votes because they need them, not just on demand.

[The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Mr Mark Harper): I hear what my hon. Friend – and, indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Mr Tyrie) – says, and I will think further on it. I hope my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) will welcome the announcement in my statement that although we are going to leave people on the register who have not individually registered ahead of the general election, those who want to exercise a postal or proxy vote – the areas of greatest concern – will have had to register individually, ensuring an extra safeguard.]