New Clause 88 — Referendum on voting systems

Part of Bill Presented — Climate Change (Sectoral Targets) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 9th February 2010.

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Photo of David Howarth David Howarth Shadow Secretary of State for Justice 7:30 pm, 9th February 2010

So the argument works the other way round as well.

The Secretary of State made an important and serious point about the function of general elections. It is a point that I should deal with before concluding. He said that in elections for electing an Executive, it was important to have a decisive system, whereas in elections for a more representative body which was not involved in Executive decisions, a less decisive, more proportional system was appropriate. That is the heart of the problem-we cannot carry on with the myth that a general election is about electing a Government from parties competing on the basis of their manifestos and then claiming a mandate to govern. That is fine when the winning party has 45 or 50 per cent. of the vote, but it makes little sense to anyone when the winning party has 35 per cent. of the vote. That is even laying aside the fact-obvious to everyone in politics-that no one outside the political bubble reads manifestos. There is no mandate. The mandate to govern that the current Government claim, on the basis of their majority in this House, is illusory, and the public know that.

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