The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Former Chair of the Electoral Commission, Jenny Watson, awarded CBE in the Birthday Honours

Published: 17 Jun 2017

Jenny Watson, the former Chair of the Electoral Commission, has been awarded a CBE in the Birthday Honours for services to electoral democracy.

Commenting on the honour, Sir John Holmes, the current chair of the Electoral Commission, said:

“Jenny has the warmest congratulations of the Electoral Commission’s Board and staff for this well-deserved honour. Her inclusive and inspirational leadership over eight years had a profound impact on the Commission, while the systems which underpin our democracy owe a good deal to the knowledge and commitment she brought to the role.”

Jenny was Chair of the Electoral Commission over a period of eight years, overseeing the delivery of a wide range of electoral events, regulating political finance in the UK and making the case for improvements to the electoral system. She made the case for individual electoral registration and then – once taken forward by the government – worked with unstinting attention to detail to ensure it was a success. She championed efforts to improve accessibility of voting and to reach currently under-registered groups, and ensured that the Commission service remained flexible to the needs of the UK’s parliaments and assemblies as devolution progressed. As a first for a chair of the Commission, Jenny also acted as Chief Counting Officer for three referendums – including the EU Referendum – and was personally instrumental in guiding the Commission successfully through these polls.


For further information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704 or
Out of office hours 07789 920 414

Notes to editors

1. The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:

  • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
  • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
  • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.