Clause 1 — Referendum on the alternative vote system

Part of Royal Commission (London) – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 12th October 2010.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office 9:00 pm, 12th October 2010

We have indeed. I was coming to that. Let me try to find the relevant page about Mr Gould so that I can whip it out.

I can tell Members on both sides of the Committee who were keen on overnight counting in the general election-I seem to remember that it was proposed by my hon. Friend Mrs Laing, and that her proposal received tremendous cross-party support-that those who say that Ron Gould is the fount of all knowledge, and that his views on elections should be listened to unquestioningly, ought to know that he does not believe in overnight counts of ballot papers. Those who cite him as the fount of all wisdom should be a little cautious.

To be fair, Ron Gould says that he would prefer the two polls to be held on separate dates. However, he also says that he does not think that holding them on the same day would cause the problems that were experienced in 2007, because voting systems are less complex now. He points out that there will be elections based on existing systems that will not be changed, along with a simple, straightforward question. He does not foresee the problems that the hon. Gentleman seems to anticipate.