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

No, we are not thinking of that-at least not at present. If my hon. Friend reads the documentation provided by the Electoral Commission he will see that it has been very open about the fact that it shifted its view after having examined the international comparisons, and as he will know it concluded that

"it should be possible to deliver" the polls scheduled for 5 May 2011. It has also highlighted a number of risks about combination-risks which we are seeking to address in close working partnership with it.

I would now like to outline briefly the effect of the substantive clauses. I know that many Members want to speak in the debate so I do not intend to describe the Bill clause by clause; there will be plenty of opportunity for that in Committee. For the moment I hope it will suffice to say that there are three main parts to the Bill: provisions for a referendum to be held, in clauses 1 to 5 and schedules 1 to 5; provisions for implementation of the alternative vote system in the event of a yes vote in the referendum, in clause 7 and schedule 6; and provisions to reform the setting of parliamentary boundaries, in clauses 8 to 11.

We have allowed for five full days for the Committee of the whole House to consider the Bill's provisions and a further two days on the Floor for Report.