Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:46 pm on 6th September 2010.

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Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham 7:46 pm, 6th September 2010

I will come on to that point, but I recall listening to the Prime Minister when he came to give Conservative Members an insight into the negotiations with the Liberal Democrats. The deal breaker, as my hon. Friend Mrs Laing said-and I read it over and over again so it is indelibly printed on my mind-was a referendum on this system. How on earth will that referendum help my constituents in Shrewsbury? I always refer to Mr. Roger Walker, my constituent who is dying of prostate cancer. For the last eight months, I have been trying to get him a special drug, abiraterone, to prolong his life. I have been unsuccessful to date, but I will not stop. How will this legislation help him to tackle his illness, which will deprive him of his life? It is the equivalent of watching Nero fiddle while Rome burns. We have so many problems in our country, yet we are being distracted by this ridiculous referendum, which is going to cost taxpayers between £80 million and £100 million. What an appalling waste of money, as my hon. Friend Mrs Laing has said.

If the proposed system was used throughout the world, effectively and in a popular way, perhaps we should consider it, but it is used in only Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Australia. Only three countries in the world use it, and two of them, with all due respect, are rather small, minor powers.