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 Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice 6:30 pm, 12th October 2010

The reason there has been a push for changing the voting system and for MPs being encouraged to try to secure more than half of the electorate is that trust and confidence had been broken by expenses and all the rest of it. The irony is that this shabby deal that the coalition Government have agreed-a fixed-term Parliament, rushing through a referendum on 5 May 2011, the boundary changes, and all the other things-is breaking the trust and confidence that we have been trying to build over the past few weeks and months, yet they do so at their peril. Mr Jenkin referred to his theories, but nobody has yet given the reason why 5 May 2011 should be the date of the referendum. If it is the case that the next election should be fought with 600 seats rather than 650, and with different boundaries-I accept that some hon. Members on the Government Benches hold this view-that can still be achieved, but by having a referendum later than 5 May 2011. What is the reason for the rush?