New Clause 88 — Referendum on voting systems

Part of Bill Presented — Climate Change (Sectoral Targets) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 9th February 2010.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice 5:45 pm, 9th February 2010

I will in a second.

Between 1945 and 1970, the Labour and Conservative parties shared over 85 per cent. of the votes cast. For the three elections between 1951 and 1959 the share was over 90 per cent., and the share of the third party was less than 6 per cent. However, as I have said, that period was atypical of British politics in the 20th and 21st centuries. Every contest now involves at least three candidates; in Scotland and Northern Ireland there are at least four, and, given the involvement of newer parties, often more. It is telling that at the last election, in 2005, only about a third of MPs won 50 per cent. or more of the votes cast in their constituencies.

It may be suggested that this is a sudden idea, but that is untrue. The proposals for the alternative vote have been debated in the House and the other place for exactly 100 years.

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