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

May I explain the issue first, and then give way?

About 84% of the United Kingdom's electorate will already have a reason to go to the polls for either local elections or elections to the devolved Assemblies. I believe that if we can avoid asking them to return to the ballot box more times than is necessary, we should. As Members will recall, we were elected just two months ago in a poll that was combined with local elections in many parts of the country.

Thirdly, combining the referendum with other elections will save a great deal of money. We estimate that across all polls on 5 May, the overall savings might be in the order of £30 million. Those savings will be shared between the referendum and the other polls. We will strive to keep costs down, and we are exploring whether further savings can be made.