Elections Bill (Instruction)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:03 pm on 20th September 2021.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 8:03 pm, 20th September 2021

I am pleased that the hon. Gentleman thinks my eloquence, or otherwise, would be of benefit to the Committee. I assure him that the Committee will have sufficient expertise to properly scrutinise the Bill, not least because he is also on the Committee. Her Majesty’s Government speak with one voice.

Supporting first past the post is a long-standing Conservative commitment. It is in our manifesto and it reflects the view of the British people, as expressed in the 2011 referendum, when 67% of them voted for first past the post. The House will of course want to know that in my constituency of Tamworth 77% of electors voted for it. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced in March that the Government intended to introduce legislation to change the voting system for all combined authority Mayors, the Mayor of London and police and crime commissioners to first past the post, as soon as parliamentary time allowed. We now have before us an opportunity to consider and make this change in its proper context—the wider electoral law system. The amendment I propose to make to the Elections Bill will, for consistency, also extend the change to include directly elected mayors of local authorities in England. I am therefore today inviting the House to agree that parliamentary time be allowed for this important measure and by agreeing to the instruction before us, that it may make provision in the Bill about the use of the simple majority voting system in elections for the return of the Mayor of London, an elected mayor of a local authority in England, a mayor of a combined authority area and a police and crime commissioner. I commend the instruction to the House.