By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 21 February 2022 • 14:25
Source : Electoral commission
The government has said that it is hoping to pass far-reaching legislation that will update the electoral laws with the aim of protecting the UK’s democracy, however the commission has warned that the new law could impact its independence.
The watchdog, it is understood, has written to the government asking it to reconsider proposed changes to its oversight arrangements, with the Elections Bill includes a provision under which the government will set out the Electoral Commission’s strategy and policy.
The commission is an independent body that currently oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK.
It said in its letter to ministers: “It is the firm view of the Commissioners that the introduction of a Strategy and Policy Statement, enabling the Government to guide the work of the Commission, is inconsistent with the role that an independent electoral commission plays in a healthy democratic system.
“If made law, these provisions will enable a government in the future to influence the Commission’s operational functions and decision-making.”
In its response the government said the elections bill will make changes to the Electoral Commission that would improve its accountability to government and that it would remain operationally independent.
Making the commission responsible to government however, removes the organisation’s independence which is the cornerstone of the UK’s democracy. The new law could have a impact its independence if approved.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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