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Two new Electoral Commissioners approved

News release published: 28-03-2014

Alasdair Morgan, a former SNP MP and MSP; and Bridget Prentice, a former Labour MP and Minister have been approved as new Commissioners for the Electoral Commission.

The UK Parliament approved a motion to appoint Mr Morgan and Ms Prentice, following a selection process overseen by the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission. The motion passed by the House of Commons presents the new Commissioners for appointment by Her Majesty the Queen. It is anticipated that both Mr Morgan and Ms Prentice will begin their terms of office in April 2014.

Mr Morgan replaces the Right Honourable Sir George Reid who stepped down due to ill health. Mr Morgan was proposed by the SNP and his nomination was supported by Plaid Cymru.

Commenting on his appointment, Alasdair Morgan said: "I am very conscious of how much of a privilege it is to take over the position formerly occupied so ably by Sir George Reid.  I am also excited about being involved in the Electoral Commission at a time when Scotland is about to decide its future through the ballot box in the forthcoming referendum."

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission, said: “I am delighted that Alasdair has been proposed as a new Commissioner. As a former Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Alasdair will bring a wealth of experience and insight to the Commission, particularly in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum.” 

Ms Prentice was nominated by the Labour Party. A former Elections Minister, she replaces Lord Roy Kennedy who stood down from his post to contest a seat at the May 2014 local elections.

Commenting on her appointment, Bridget Prentice said: “I am delighted and excited to be part of the Electoral Commission. I am looking forward to working closely with colleagues to ensure we make our democracy engaging and accessible.”

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission, said: “I am delighted that Bridget has been proposed as a new Commissioner. As a former Elections Minister in the last Government, Bridget will bring a wealth of first-hand political experience, particularly as the Commission looks ahead to how the electoral system can be modernised.”

Ends  

For further information contact Karim Aziz in the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704 or kaziz@electoralcommission.org.uk

Out of office hours 07789 920 414

Notes to editors

  1. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections and are responsible for the conduct and regulation of referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000).
  2. A short biography of Alasdair Morgan: While pursuing his career in the IT industry, Alasdair Morgan held various senior positions within the Scottish National Party (National Treasurer, National Secretary etc.) until he was elected as SNP MP for Galloway & Upper Nithsdale from 1997 to 2001, where he served on the Trade & Industry Select Committee.  He was an SNP member of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 until 2011, when he stood down.  During his second four year term he was convener of his party’s parliamentary group and then its chief whip, and in his last term he was one of the Deputy Presiding Officers of the Parliament and leader of the Parliament’s delegation to the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly.  He remains a trustee of the Scottish Parliamentary Pension Fund.
  3. A short biography of Bridget Prentice:Bridget Prentice served 18 years as MP for Lewisham East, was a Government Whip and a Minister in the Ministry of Justice with responsibility for electoral administration amongst other policy areas. She is presently a Trustee on the Jimmy Mizen Foundation and on Age Exchange, the Chair of Governors of Trinity Lewisham School and a Pampered Chef Consultant. She continues to advise public and private sector bodies on matters to do with government.
  4. The selection process for Commissioners is handled by the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, and not by the Electoral Commission itself. A report on the process they undertook can be found here:www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmspeak/1172/117204.htm


Journalist