New Clause 88 — Referendum on voting systems

Part of Bill Presented — Climate Change (Sectoral Targets) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:32 pm on 9th February 2010.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice 5:32 pm, 9th February 2010

My hon. Friend will remember the debates that took place on the Jenkins commission when it reported to the House when I was Home Secretary, towards the end of 1999. It rapidly became clear that there was no consensus around it. What is more, with the passage of time, concern has been expressed about dual systems of membership, particularly in Scotland and Wales. Speaking personally, I happen to believe that the system of single-Member constituencies, in which one Member alone has the duty to represent everyone in that constituency or community, is fundamental to the workings of our democracy. That system gives a directness and authority to the relationship which does not exist in the same way under multi-Member constituency systems.

Furthermore, I support majoritarian systems because majority Governments are far preferable to the weaker minority and coalition Governments that are almost invariably the consequence of systems of proportional representation. I thought that before I first came into the House; I thought it throughout the 18 years I spent on the Opposition Benches; and nothing I have seen of other countries' systems of proportional representation has convinced me that they have better alternatives.

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