New political Commissioner appointed to Electoral Commission


A new Commissioner nominated by smaller political parties has been approved by the House of Commons to serve on the Electoral Commission Board. Alex Attwood has been appointed to the role which has been vacant since February 2020.

Alex Attwood was a Social Democratic and Labour Party Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly from 1998 until 2017. He also served as Minister for Social Development in the Northern Ireland Executive from February 2010 until May 2011, and as Minister of the Environment in the Northern Ireland Executive from May 2011 until July 2013.

The selection process for Commissioners is conducted by the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission within the UK Parliament. The Commissioner representing smaller parties is a ‘nominated commissioner’, which means the appointment is made from candidates put forward by the smaller political parties. As the UK Parliament has approved the motion to appoint Alex Attwood, the proposed appointment will now be submitted for royal assent by Her Majesty the Queen.

Rob Vincent, interim lead Commissioner of the Electoral Commission, said:

“We are delighted that it is proposed for Alex to be joining the Commission’s Board and we look forward to the insight and expertise he will bring, as well as his first-hand experience of standing and campaigning at elections. His appointment will further broaden the skills and knowledge of our Board, helping to ensure the Commission continues to deliver trust and confidence in our democratic processes.”

Alex Attwood said: 

“The Electoral Commission is an essential feature of fair and free elections and a healthy democracy. I look forward to contributing to its work in general and as a voice for smaller Westminster parties in particular.”

The Commission Board comprises:

  • a Chair
  • four Commissioners nominated by political parties represented in the House of Commons
  • three Commissioners appointed as leads for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • two other Commissioners

Members of the Commission Board are required to declare any interests which may represent a conflict with their role at the Commission, and must also follow our published Code of Conduct.


For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

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 reports to the UK, Scottish and Welsh parliaments.

The selection process for Commissioners is conducted by the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission and is set out in law (Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000). Section 5 of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009, which inserted a new section 3A into PPERA, provides for four of the Electoral Commissioners to be persons put forward by the registered leader of a qualifying party for consideration for appointment.

Alastair Ross, was the Commissioner previously nominated by the smaller political parties after being put forward by the DUP.

Recruitment is currently underway for a new Commission Chair and a new Commissioner for Northern Ireland, after the term of the Commissioners in both these roles came to end in December 2020. 

Find out more about the Electoral Commission’s Board on our website.