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Commissioners Questions

Live coverage of questions to the Church commissioners, House of Commons Commission, Public Accounts Commission and Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission.


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his advocacy that representatives

will be coming in next Thursday and

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up we will make sure that they and

their colleagues at the support they

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need for the future.

All questions

to the chairman of the Public

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accounts commission and the right

Honourable member for those where

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presented the House of Commons

commission.

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Representing the Church

Commissioners. Gillian Keegan.

Mr

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Speaker, I have had many recent

discussions with Government

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departments, particularly the Home

Office, not these because of my

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marriage registration bill which is

in train and there is an identical

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one in the House of Lords which

would achieve the same purpose which

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will allow them to sign the bill. I

don't mind which a bill makes it

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first, we just need to get it done.

She is seeking to group this

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question with numbers two and six.

With your permission, I would like

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to do so.

Thank you.

I thank the

Right Honourable member for your

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response and there is a feeling that

this needs to change, so will she

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make... To use Government time to

get one of the bills to get this

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matter past?

Yes, many member is

across this house have sought to

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achieve that end and I commend the

honourable member for introducing an

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identical bill on a previous bill.

Making sure it is cross-party. I

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have a letter in response to mine

from the Prime Minister in April

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this year saying that she absolutely

acknowledges the commitment made in

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2014 by her predecessor to achieve

this and recognises the need for

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primary legislation to make sure

that both parents of the couple can

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be on the certificate.

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The signing of the register is

currently a valued part of the

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marriage service in church across

the country. Could she reassure me

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that this will remain unchanged?

Yes, I can reassure the honourable

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lady that registers will remain in

the vestry for the all important

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photo, but the reality is, under the

new system proposed, the Church has

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consulted on it, Vickers will

download a marriage certificate

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signed by the couple as it is now

but the vicar will complete the form

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by filling the parents' names,

including the possibility of mothers

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being on the certificate in the

future.

I am grateful. Can I ask,

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have she and the church -- will she

and the Church of England will

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support my bill which includes

exactly these requirements, and will

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be Church of England also agreed to

back equal civil partnerships to

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extended to opposite six

partnerships as well? -- opposite

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sex partnerships?

In general, if the

answer is stable, committed and

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long-lasting relationships, they are

likely to be beneficial, especially

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where children are involved.

Personally, I would support that,

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and for that reason I have rolled

forward my bill beyond the date of

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the bill to give him an opportunity

to proceed.

I have three daughters

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with children, and many

constituents, and wanted to ask

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today, why has it taken so long this

simple step forward for equality?

I

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ask myself the very same questions.

There have been several attempts and

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undertakings including by the

previous Labour government in 2002,

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so I would urge colleagues to do

everything they can to make sure we

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achieve the change in the law, and

give the went to the marriage

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registration Bill.

It is good to

hear what she says, but will she

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also topped the Church about making

it easier for people to get married

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in church and to have their children

baptised? That would be quality.

In

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answering this, on previous

occasions I have given examples of

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how the church does reach out to the

surrounding communities, so that the

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thought of getting married is not

intimidating, and doesn't need to be

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expensive. Getting married in church

is the least part of what it

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actually costs to put on a wedding,

but I can put him in touch for the

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materials required for people to be

married in church.

Taking into

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account the 25% of households are

single-parent, and of these 90% of

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those are led by mothers, would she

agree that the marriage certificate

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must take into account the large

section of people who are overlooked

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and in real life watch over

everything in the home?

He makes a

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very important point. This really

came out in the Westminster Hall

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debate that I secured. When a number

of honourable members, who are

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themselves the children of a single

parent, in most cases the mother,

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were really disappointed to find out

that the moment they got married,

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the mum who had done everything

possible to bring them up was not at

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this point in law able to be signing

the certificate has the parent, and

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that is a very strong reason why it

is needing changed.

Her commitment

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on this issue is very well-known on

both sides, and it is that both

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sides of the houses are supportive

of what she is trying to achieve.

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Following on to her answer, can she

reaffirm that the church as it was

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set out to me remain supportive of

what we're trying to achieve?

I

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would like to clear up any

misunderstanding there might be that

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the church is in any way against

making this change, the reverse is

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true. The church has consulted on

the question of changing the

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marriage registration process. It

will save money as a practical

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reality of moving to an electronic

register. There is cross-party

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support, institutional support, let

us just get it done.

The National

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Audit Office's any all work

programme is a number for the

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controller general, but it does not

audit individual police forces. It

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published a report in June 15 about

financial sustainability in police

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forces.

An independent assessment of

police Force funding would be very

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welcome, not just on an individual

level, but as a whole. The NA all

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published an effective report two

years ago but the governments have

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made claims that they have protected

funding that has been protected, so

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an independent assessment would be

welcome, and I would ask the NAO

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through the commissioner that he

would make that request.

I will pass

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on that request. She's quite right.

Although police forces have reduced

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costs since 2011, the report

referred to has recommended the Home

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Office work with other bodies on

better information and early warning

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on when a force may fail.

The NAO is

continually looking at how it can

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save money. The most recent audited

financial accounts show that the NAO

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has reduced its net resort cost by

21% in real terms against its

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baseline in 2010, 11. This is while

taking on a much greater role in

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government at the request of

Parliament.

I have no doubt about

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the great work they do as the

spending watch, but what can he do?

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We are urging the National Audit

Office to reduce their costs. They

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have been very successful. The

National Audit Office saves many

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times its own budget in looking at

any other government department to

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make sure we get good value for

money. He makes easier point. The

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NAO must lead the way in reducing

its staffing costs.

There is no

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direct financial subsidy on alcohol

sales served in the House of

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Commons. It is sold at events,

achieving 69% gross profit. --

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margin. This helps offset the cost

of catering.

I am pleased to hear

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there is no subsidy on alcohol

sales. There have been recent well

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reported incidents of bad behaviour

in bars on the estate. What steps

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are being taken to prevent such

incidents in the future?

He may be

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aware of the incident a couple of

days ago in relation to the sports

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and social club, which is run by the

House of Lords. There is an

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investigation underway into that,

and clearly this is an issue under

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review for the reasons the

honourable gentleman has set out.

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Professor Charles recommended a

target of a press gallery, such that

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neither women or men should be in

receipt of less than 40% of lobby

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passes by 2020. As of the 6th of

December, 25.6% of the 246 valid

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lobby passes on issue were four

women. As a result of his question,

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I will seek the best means of

publishing these figures on a

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regular basis.

They really will have

to do better, won't they?

Democracy

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matters appear in the press gallery,

and I am glad the commission will

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look to publish the diversity data,

but can I encourage them to

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implement dredges -- legislation by

publishing data on gender but other

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characteristics, to break down the

data and also to set clear target so

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that at least by 2020 no men and

women have no fewer than 40% of the

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passes for the journalist lobby on

the estate.

She may be aware that

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currently neither the Commons

reference group or the commission

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have considered the recommendation

of the report, however following her

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intervention I will ensure that they

do as soon as possible and look very

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specifically at making sure that the

extensive level of detail she has

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requested is reflected in reports

that we publish in future.

The good

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Parliament report will come to be

seen as a pivotal and seminal

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publication in the history of the

free-form and modernisation of the

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place. Can he say a bit more about

how the recommendations including

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those relating to the press gallery

-- Gallery is making them considered

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other opportunities in this place?

One of the measures being placed on

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this report is the emphasis the

Speaker and House of Commons

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commission are putting on it.

Members of Parliament are actively

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tracking this, therefore I am

confident the Commons reference

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group and the commission will want

to ensure that due priority is given

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and the implemented as soon as

possible.

The church supports

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ecumenical agencies like Embrace in

the Middle East, including one for

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the Coptic Evangelical Association

for social services in Cairo, which

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supports over 2 million Egyptians in

rural communities.

Can I ask what

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steps the church is taking to

highlight the importance of cross

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departmentally approach to tackling

the persecution of religious

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minorities, especially Christians

abroad. Not simply because it is the

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right thing to do, but because it is

also important for security at home.

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The church regularly facilitates the

opportunity for church

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representatives to speak across

different government departments,

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this week we facilitated a visit by

the Bishop of Zimbabwe, who spoke to

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Foreign Office ministers. But I

would draw your attention to a

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speech by the bishops Bishop of

Peterborough this week who spoke

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about the hidden victims of

persecution, and she will seek

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comfort in the Bishop's speech about

being aware on how this plays at

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home.

Does she agree that the

displaced Middle East Christians

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need support to make sure they have

a safe environment to love and

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flourish in, and hopefully time to

return to their home communities,

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and would she join me in commending

open doors further campaign?

I

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certainly do commend them, and I

commend to members present that next

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week, Wednesday afternoon, they are

running an event called Hope for the

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Middle East, encouraging us to

support the plight of those, and

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since it is the last question before

Christmas for me, could I wish

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everybody happy Christmas and let us

not forget that Jesus was carried in

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the arms of his mother all the way

to Egypt, fleeing persecution, so

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while we celebrate, let us also

remember those forced to flee from

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persecution.

The Electoral

Commission has experienced

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undertaking multiple investigations

and is confident that its resourcing

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for this year is sufficient.

Nevertheless it recognises its

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workload has increased. In 2018, the

submission will submit its budget

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for the next financial year for

scrutiny, and it is for the

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Electoral Commission to agree the

estimate.

I hope the Speaker's

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committee well insured the

commission has the resources it

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needs to do this work. As well as

investigating Russian interference

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which the Electoral Commission

chairman John Holmes confirmed it

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was doing yesterday, can she comment

on whether the commission is

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examining if there was collusion

between Vote Leave, Labour leave,

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the DUP and veterans for Britain,

and can she also comment on whether

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the role of the US hedge fund

billionaire Robert Mercer is being

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investigated?

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I am grateful to my honourable

friend and I know the commission has

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had useful and positive engagement

with him in regards to these areas.

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Various investigations are under way

and it will not be possible to

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comment further but I can assure my

honourable friend at once any

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investigations are complete, the

commission will decide whether any

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breaches have occurred and if so,

what further action will be

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appropriate. The outcome of

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Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to the Church commissioners, House of Commons Commission, Public Accounts Commission and Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission.