Government hits back at Labour claim that one million people missing from electoral register

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats rejected Labour’s criticism that the switch from household to individual registration has been rushed

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The Government has accused Labour of “opportunism” as it hit back at Ed Miliband’s claim that one million people have gone missing from the electoral register.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats rejected Labour’s criticism that the switch from household to individual registration has been rushed. Mr Miliband has suggested that fewer than half 18 year-olds are joining the electoral roll now that universities no longer block register students living in halls of residence.

Sam Gyimah, the Tory Minister for the Constitution, said: “This is not genuine concern about a policy, because we know Labour is supportive of individual electoral registration. Instead, it is an opportunistic attempt by the Labour Party to con students that it is fighting for their interests.”

 

He told MPs: “What we are moving away from is the system whereby the warden of a college chose where the student registered. In some cases, people did not even know that they were on the electoral roll in the area concerned.”

Mr Gyimah announced that organisations representing students, other young people and ethnic minorities will receive a share of £2.5m funding to encourage people to register.

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, said: “Statistics emerging from many areas on levels of voter registration give real cause for concern. There's a danger that we could see significant numbers of people turning up to vote on May 7 and finding that they have been disenfranchised by not being registered. That would be seriously damaging to our democracy.”

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