Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:54 pm on 6th September 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans 6:54 pm, 6th September 2010

As someone who looks like he might have been got in a way that perhaps I could not be got, I accept what the hon. Gentleman says. That is one thing about being a woman-we do not have bits to grab that other people have.

Rebellion is a serious thing. If someone rebels at every single thing, then no one takes them seriously when they mean it. I am not a serial rebel, but I have had it up to here with this, as I am sure that many of my hon. Friends have. In trying to support my Government, I hope that they respect the fact that some of us are not just Lobby fodder but are trying to do our best by a coalition Government for this country-that we will swallow some of this, but only so much. There should be greater recognition of the fact that some of us believe that AV is probably the least sensible and least palatable solution-a solution that not even my Liberal Democrat opponents in St Albans were encouraging people to think of on the doorstep. I am surprised that the Liberal Democrats who are in coalition with us are supportive of this measure. It delivers the worst of all options, and I am deeply unhappy about it.

I am pleased, however, that we are tackling the issue of boundaries, which have been a problem for many voters who feel that the sizes of constituencies are definitely unequal and do not respect boundaries as they should. I have huge sympathy with my hon. Friend Mr Turner, who had a great point to make. However, I will not make my rebellion on this issue tonight. I respect the comments made by Barry Gardiner about the Whips, but listening to my colleagues in the Chamber has led me to this decision. If we are to have a Government who deliver on the difficult things, let us not make this into a huge argument over something that none of us wants. I do not believe that, if asked for their ideal solution, a single Member in this Chamber would have gone for AV. AV is the least palatable option and will leave us with the least palatable Members of Parliament.

I shall sit down soon, as I know colleagues wish to speak. As I said, many wise heads in the Chamber will be rueing the day we got ourselves in the nonsensical situation of having to support AV-given that if we were asked, in a general question, whether we liked AV, we would all have said no. I do not know how we ended up with this cobbled-together thing. I accept that it is part of the troika-the coalition of three horses pulling in different directions and the attempt to get them all to go the same way. However, I regret that our Government and my Conservative party should be having to consider something that under normal circumstances we would have consigned to the dustbin.


Cllr Allan Siao Ming WithericK
Posted on 7 Sep 2010 11:24 am (Report this annotation)

Actually proportional representation and the electoral system as a whole was discussed by St Albans Liberal Democrats on the door step and the examples of vote share vs seats nationally was a topic of much interest after the first televised debate.