Clause 1 — Referendum on the alternative vote system

Part of Royal Commission (London) – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 12th October 2010.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Conservative, New Forest East 7:45 pm, 12th October 2010

I have very good circumstantial evidence. If it were left to the Conservatives, they would not wish this issue to be on the agenda at all; it is part of the price for the formation of the coalition Government. Also, once it became clear that this bad idea of a coincidence of dates was to be implemented, it was said time and again in the press without contradiction-in a way, the hon. Gentleman anticipates the remainder of my speech-that the reason was to improve the possibility of a yes vote. As the Conservatives, from the leader of our party down, have been explicit that we want a no vote, it is hardly likely that they, albeit reluctantly putting forward the idea for a referendum in the first place for the sake of the coalition, would insist on holding it on the same date for the reason that it was likely to get the result that they apparently do not want. I say apparently because naturally I believe implicitly everything that the leadership of my party tells me, and therefore I am sure that it does not want us to change the voting system.