Clause 1 — Referendum on the alternative vote system

Part of Royal Commission (London) – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 12th October 2010.

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Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Conservative, Epping Forest 7:30 pm, 12th October 2010

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. As I have said, I, like most Members of this House, have every respect for the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish people and their right to fair democracy and fair elections. That is why I reiterate that our first loyalty has to be to the democratic process, which makes this House and our participation in it what it is, and which makes us the representatives of people who have fairly and properly elected us to this place. We do not have cut-price democracy; we do not have elections that are not properly run. I am very uncomfortable with the idea of having a referendum, which is likely to change our constitution, run in a way that is not seen to be fair. Clearly, there is an enormous number of other dates on which this referendum could be held. Therefore, in order for it to be fair and to be seen to be fair, and for it to command the respect that we need it to command in order to protect our democracy, which gives us the authority to sit in this House of Commons, it must be held on a different day from 5 May 2011.