Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:07 pm on 6th September 2010.

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Photo of Nick Clegg Nick Clegg The Deputy Prime Minister , Lord President of the Council (Privy Council Office), Leader of the Liberal Democrats 4:07 pm, 6th September 2010

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Before turning to the Bill, I am aware that since we last met, Mr Straw has announced that he will be stepping back from front-line politics when the new leader of the Labour party is finally elected. I am sure that I speak on behalf of everybody when I say that I wish him, in advance, a happy semi-retirement on the Back Benches. I hope that he agrees that Second Reading of this Bill and Second Reading of the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill next week is a fitting finale or curtain call for him, given his lifelong interest and expertise in constitutional matters, which we hope he will continue to draw upon from the Back Benches.

In the run-up to the election in May, all the major parties pledged to reform politics. Some of the measures proposed were quite different from this one and others strikingly similar, but there was consensus that this Parliament has a duty to restore trust to the institution of Parliament. So the people who put us here must now see us taking the action needed to do that, ensuring that politics is transparent, making certain that we can all be held to account, and ultimately, demonstrating to them that we understand that they are in charge. This Bill is a major step towards achieving that, because it is about the legitimacy of this House and restoring people's faith in how they elect their MPs.