Local MP and the Minister for the Constitution Chris Skidmore met with local domestic abuse campaigner Mehala Osborne ahead of a Government roundtable on anonymous electoral registration.
Back in September Chris announced the Government would be looking again at the regulations on anonymous registration. It came following a campaign by Ms Osborne and Women's Aid who argued that hundreds of domestic abuse survivors were being excluded from the democratic process.
Anonymous registration is available to people whose safety could be at risk if their name or address appeared on the electoral register, but it requires court documents or the signature of a "qualifying officer" such as a senior police officer.
Chris Skidmore said:
“Mehala is a real inspiration. To go through what she has been through and have the strength to run such a powerful campaign is incredible.
“Some people say that those who have fled domestic violence are some of the most vulnerable in society, I think they are also some of the bravest and Mehala is a true testament to that. It so important we give people like her every tool we can to get on with their lives and that must include the freedom to vote.
“I had an insightful meeting today ahead of the roundtable on Monday and I am confident that over the next few months we will have a clearer view on how we can improve the experience of anonymous registration.”
Mehala Osborne said:
“I was delighted to meet with Chris today to discuss taking this forward. It has been difficult to raise awareness of this serious issue - but now Government are listening. I look forward to working with them to ensure all survivors of domestic abuse, no matter what their situation is, are able to exercise their democratic rights.”
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women's Aid, said:
"Domestic abuse must not deny women their right to vote, and as a society we need their participation - and there are a great many survivors out there who are unable to vote. So we are delighted that the Cabinet Office is working on resolving this with us and Mehala Osborne, a survivor who has led this struggle to be part of the democratic process.”