Clause 1 — Referendum on the alternative vote system

Part of Royal Commission (London) – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 12th October 2010.

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Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration Committee 6:30 pm, 12th October 2010

I am rather touched-I have never been accused of lacking confidence before. I think that the NO2AV campaign will win whatever the date, and I have every confidence that AV will be trashed at the polls. However, I do not think that my hon. Friend has been listening to my point. The question is not whether the date should be moved for the convenience of the yes or no campaigns; it is an issue of principle. If we believe in direct democracy, as I do, we should want the issues addressed in a referendum to be separated and-as the Electoral Commission used to put it-elevated above the party political battle, so that the British people have a fair and uncluttered opportunity to understand those issues. I hope, therefore, that the Committee will support either the amendment in the name of the nationalists or, failing that, the amendment that I will move later.