I am going to make a change in tack from the previous three speakers and actually speak to some of the amendments that have been tabled. However, I first want to pick up on the really important point made by my hon. Friend Andrew Percy at the end of his speech. We all heard about a “kinder, gentler politics”. I entirely agree with my hon. Friend and, like him, I look forward to fighting a positive campaign on the issues, seeing that kinder, gentler politics on the doorsteps and in the conduct of each of us. Perhaps that is a pledge that we can each make right here and right now.
I am also following the contribution from my right hon. Friend Sir Hugo Swire. It was a great pleasure to hear him speak. I hope he heard the cheers from the Back Benches, effectively crying for more. We cannot believe that he is retiring at such a young age and that this House will be deprived of his voice in future Parliaments. I say that with all sincerity. It was a great pleasure to hear him make a small contribution to this particular debate, following such a distinguished career in this place. It has been a great pleasure working alongside him in a number of campaigns.
I join Tommy Sheppard, who I think welcomed, very briefly, the technical amendment tabled in the name of my right hon. Friend the Minister. I, too, welcome that technical amendment and will be supporting it. I hope it will not be pressed to a Division.
I want to turn to amendment 2, which relates to the date of the election. We eventually heard the hon. Gentleman, after a 10-minute speech, turn to the clauses and the amendment. He gave what I thought were rather weak reasons for why he preferred
There are two key reasons why