§ Maria Eagle
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he intends to transfer the functions of the Local Government Commission for England to the Electoral Commission; what the consequences for the programme of periodic electoral reviews will be; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Beverley Hughes
As the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien), told the House on 8 January 2001,Official Report, column 830, we intend, subject to the approval of the House and the other place, to make an Order under section 18 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, transferring the functions of the Local Government Commission for England (LGC) to the Electoral Commission with effect from 1 April 2002. We also intend, provided for in the 2000 Act, to include provisions in the Order to modify and to transfer to the independent Electoral Commission the Secretary of State's current functions relating to the implementation of the LGC's recommendations on electoral reviews. The proposed modifications are to take account of the constitution of the independent Electoral Commission and its statutory Boundary Committee for England, and to improve the procedures for conducting and implementing reviews, including allowing the Commission's Boundary Committee, after undertaking a review, to undertake a further review of the electoral arrangements of part of the local authority's area.
On this basis, from 1 April 2002, the programme of periodic electoral reviews and their implementation would become the responsibility of the Electoral Commission.
Electoral reviews are implemented, on a normal election day for the council concerned, by the making of an electoral changes order prior to that date. We intend that it will be for the Electoral Commission to make all the electoral change orders for reviews implemented on the normal election day in 2004 and subsequent normal election days. Electoral change orders for reviews to be implemented on the normal election day in 2003 will also be made by the Electoral Commission, except where a review is completed sufficiently prior to April 2002 that it is practicable for the Secretary of State to make the Order to assist the Electoral Commission as it takes on its new functions transferred from the LGC.
This approach means that it will be for the Electoral Commission, on or after 1 April 2002, to decide whether or not to give effect to the LGC's current review recommendations for the counties of Derbyshire, Devon, Durham and Surrey which are due to be implemented on the normal election day in 2005 under the programme of reviews announced to the House on 2[...] July 1999, Official Report, column 356.