Parliamentary Parties Panel minutes: 7 June 2022

Who was at the meeting

Scottish National Party:

  • Scott Martin (SM), chair of meeting

Conservative Party:

  • Alan Mabbutt (AM)
  • Jonathan Burkitt 
  • Megan Tucker

Labour Party:

  • Andrew Whyte (AW)

Liberal Democrats:

  • Kerry Buist (KB)

Plaid Cymru:

  • Carl Harris (CH)

Electoral Commission:

  • Shaun McNally, Chief Executive (SMcN)
  • Craig Westwood, Director of Communications, Policy and Research (CW)
  • Louise Edwards, Director of Regulation (LE)
  • Ryan McCullough, Public Affairs Manager
  • Alex White, Senior Communications Officer

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities:

  • Paul Docker (PD)

Post-election review – May 2022 elections

CW said that the Commission’s initial assessment was that the polls were delivered successfully with no significant issues, and noted the hard work of electoral administrators to ensure the smooth-running of the polls. He added that the Commission was now gathering information from the electoral community ahead of publishing post-poll reports in the autumn. 

PD also noted DLUHC’s assessment that the polls were delivered successfully without major trouble, thanks to the efforts of those involved in their delivery. 

KB welcomed the Commission’s online advice surgeries for candidates and agents ahead of the elections, which SM also noted were helpful in the context of the Scotland-focused surgeries. KB raised inconsistency between advice given on the call, and written guidance, in relation to a query on declaring posters. LE noted she would welcome further feedback on the advice surgeries, and that the Commission recognised the importance of consistency of guidance and advice, which it was working to improve. 

CH raised concerns from police SPOCs that the number of complaints against independent candidates in Wales had been higher than usual. He asked whether the Commission was aware of this, and whether it was related to the guidance and support independent candidates receive. LE explained that the Commission was conducting a post-poll survey of police SPOCs where it may come up. PD confirmed this issue had been raised at the Wales Electoral Coordination Board (WECB), and that some independent candidates had been unaware of their responsibilities. SMcN confirmed the Commission’s Wales office had picked this up from WECB and would be looking into it.