Clause 1 — Referendum on the alternative vote system

Part of Royal Commission (London) – in the House of Commons at 6:45 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 6:45 pm, 12th October 2010

The hon. Lady makes a good point with which many colleagues agree, but I shall move on.

In my view, the Deputy Prime Minister had good reasons for opposing the combination. He worried that holding a referendum on electoral reform on the same day as the general election would cloud the debate and affect the outcome, making a yes vote less likely; he was right. He instead supported our proposals for a referendum after the election, but within approximately 18 months of the legislation gaining Royal Assent, which meant that the most likely date would have been October 2011. That course of action would not have delivered the savings that that combination with a general election would have provided, but, given the importance of the decision in question, it was a fairer and more constitutional way of proceeding. That was his view back then, but we know that it has changed.