Proposed electoral register ban to get Commons hearing

Home Office proposals to prevent the electoral roll from being used for commercial purposes met with further opposition last week, when the Representation of the People Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons.

Home Office proposals to prevent the electoral roll from being used

for commercial purposes met with further opposition last week, when the

Representation of the People Bill had its second reading in the House of

Commons.



As a result, the committee stage, which the proposals have now reached,

will be held on the floor of the Commons itself, rather than the more

usual closed committee, which will allow all parties to have a say.



During the second reading, the Tories reiterated their support for the

direct marketing industry, first stated in the report made by the

Conservative Research Department.



Support for the industry also came from the Labour benches. Stephen

Pound MP said: ’I am concerned the commercial and charitable

organisations will not be allowed access to the electoral roll for

credit purposes. That could easily be costly and

counter-productive.’



John Watson, the chairman of WWAV Rapp Collins and a key lobbyist

against the moves, said: ’The Government cannot continue to turn a deaf

ear to the protests, especially since the proposals will disadvantage

not just businesses but consumers. As virtually everyone now seems to

recognise, the proposals will lead to greater social exclusion from

financial services.’



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