The meeting was chaired by Mick Antoniw MS, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, Welsh Government.
The other attending ministers were:
From the UK government:
- Kemi Badenoch MP, Minister of State, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
- The Rt Hon Conor Burns MP, Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office
- Lord True CBE, Minister of State, Cabinet Office.
From the Scottish Government:
- George Adam MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business
The chair welcomed everyone to the meeting which was the first meeting of the IMG since the recent UK government reshuffle.
Minister Antoniw outlined the principles he had announced for future Electoral Reform in Wales and shared plans for local government elections pilots. Minister Adam shared some of the work being undertaken by the Scottish Government to make elections more accessible, for example for voters with sight loss. Minister Badenoch led an exchange of views on the UK government’s Elections Bill, recognising differing views on some of the topics covered in the Bill and that consideration was being given to separate electoral reform legislation in Wales and Scotland. All ministers emphasised the importance of collaborative working and keeping dialogue open.
Ministers had a brief discussion on the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill and Lord True confirmed that Second Reading had been scheduled in the House of Lords for 24 November (Second Reading of the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill was subsequently moved to 30th November). Minister Antoniw and Minister Adam noted that, whilst there could be circumstances where it would not be possible to avoid scheduling a General Election for the same date as an election to Senedd Cymru or the Scottish Parliament, they would welcome an assurance that every effort would be made to avoid such a situation, not least in light of the previously discussed difficulties that a clash of polls would cause. Lord True agreed he would affirm during the Bill’s passage through the House of Lords, that the UK government would be mindful of scheduled elections to devolved legislatures when considering the date for a UK Parliamentary Election.
Finally, ministers discussed preparations for the May 2022 elections, which included monitoring the position in respect of COVID-19 and whether any adjustments would be required.