Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:54 pm on 6th September 2010.

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Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Labour, Middlesbrough 7:54 pm, 6th September 2010

I am grateful for the opportunity to follow Daniel Kawczynski. Having listened to what happened in that parliamentary Conservative party meeting-a meeting of the 1922 committee, which was formed on the breakdown of a coalition Government way back in 1922-and heard that the deal breaker was a referendum on the alternative vote, I wonder why the Conservatives made a deal at all. They were eight short of an overall majority. They could have easily formed a Government and would have had a big majority in the House over other parties, although not an overall majority. They could have easily formed a Government and taken to the country the question of how we deal with the deficit. That the Conservative party should sell itself to the 1922 committee by going back to 1922, when the Conservatives pulled out and the coalition failed, and then go back into a coalition on that premise-a premise that is so false and empty, even from the Liberal party, which fought for a different system in the general election-is a wonder to behold.

We are now in the odd situation where we have one part of the Bill, which should be one Bill, on whether there should be a referendum on the alternative vote, and another on changing the distribution of seats.