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

That argument will, of course, take place during the referendum campaign, but my hon. Friend is right to point out that what is being suggested is an evolution rather than a revolution. It goes with the grain of our existing system of one Member per constituency. As I have said, that debate will take place during the weeks and months running up to the referendum.

Let me turn to a crucial issue which I know has elicited some controversy. The date of the poll is set for 5 May 2011. There are a number of reasons for that. First, the coalition agreement set out a commitment to hold a referendum, and it is right for us to move swiftly to meet that commitment. People have been promised the chance to decide, and they should not now be made to wait. Secondly, it makes sense to combine the referendum with the other elections that are already happening on that day.