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Sinn Féin hold London talks on new Electoral Register plans

19 April, 2006

Sinn Féin National Director of Elections Pat Doherty MP today held talks in London with the British Direct Rule Minister David Hansen to discuss the planned changes to the Electoral Registration system in the north. The meeting which was held at Sinn Féin's request was to press the British government to ensure that the new canvass and register planned for the autumn will use the current register as a starting point, not a blank sheet as currently proposed.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Doherty said:

"A few years ago the British government at the behest of the SDLP and the unionists changed the rules for people registering to vote. This resulted in tens of thousands of people being removed from the register and denied their right vote.

"Sinn Fein have successfully lobbied the British government and convinced them to introduce new legislation to rectify this situation.

"They are doing so but they are also about to create more problems for those who wish to register. They intend starting another round of registration in September. This means they will start with a blank register.

"This is a mistake. The current register should be the starting point for the new canvass and register planned for the autumn.

"The British government should use the Œcarry over‚ method and scrap their plans to start with a blank sheet." ENDS

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