Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill
Baroness Blatch (Conservative)
My Lords, the arrangements sound fairly complicated, especially if the options for local government are to be spelt out precisely. For example, in a large region many changes may be made to the boundaries of district as well as county councils. It will not simply be that " is abolished and Y is instituted. Many other changes would need to be understood. First, will those arrangements be approved by an order before Parliament? Will there be an order before Parliament to ascertain whether there will be separate ballot papers and what will be on them? Secondly, will the advice of the Electoral Commission be sought in terms of approving the arrangements?
Did the Minister really mean that the regional assembly vote is straightforward: that one is either for it or against it? During the previous debate, the noble Lord rightly made this point: that there is a link between whether one wants a regional assembly; and the price for having that regional assembly. There is a link between the two votes; one is linked with the other. The answer to a regional assembly vote could be "Yes" because one of the options is satisfactory, or "No" because the arrangements are not satisfactory. Simply being for or against a regional assembly is not entirely without complication. There is a link with the other question.