Clause 1 — Referendum on the alternative vote system

Part of Royal Commission (London) – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 12th October 2010.

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Photo of Thomas Docherty Thomas Docherty Labour, Dunfermline and West Fife 7:00 pm, 12th October 2010

I greatly appreciate my hon. Friend's contribution. Yet again, he has managed to introduce an issue that is important to people in both our constituencies.

Let me stress that amendment 1 is not a wrecking amendment, although some members of the Government may wish to portray it as such. It is supported by Members on both sides of the argument about the alternative vote. It is not intended to, nor will it, lead to the killing of the AV referendum; it merely seeks to create a level and fair playing field for the referendum, and to demonstrate the respect that the House should have for the devolved Administrations of the United Kingdom.

As Members will know, it is rare for an issue to unite Labour and Scottish National party politicians, and rarer still for them to be joined by Welsh and Northern Irish colleagues. However, that is the feat that the Deputy Prime Minister has managed to achieve, and I am grateful for his ability to bring us all together in that spirit. The amendment seeks to address the genuine anger that is felt in the three devolved Administrations. The fact that a joint letter has been sent by the three First Ministers to the Deputy Prime Minister expressing that anger should not be forgotten.