Elections Bill (Instruction)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:21 pm on 20th September 2021.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement 8:21 pm, 20th September 2021

The Minister is telling us that we will have time to scrutinise and debate the amendment he is proposing tonight, but he might not be aware that this Bill has already started; we have already had Second Reading, where all Members of the House were able to debate the merits or otherwise of the contents of the Bill, and the Bill Committee has already met four times. We have already finished our evidence taking. I say to the Minister that on page 114 of the transcript of the Committee he can see that, as a member of that Committee, I made a point of order to the Chair, asking whether or not we could take evidence from witnesses on the issue of electoral systems. The Chair was very clear in saying that that was out of the scope of the Bill and so Committee members were not able to take evidence on electoral systems. So I have to question why this was not included already in the legislation. On 16 March, the Home Secretary announced that the Government planned to change the voting system for all PCCs, combined authority mayors and the Mayor of London from the supplementary vote system to first past the post. If the Government had wanted this to be in the Elections Bill, surely they should have put it in the Bill from the beginning, allowing Members to scrutinise it on Second Reading and in Committee.

The supplementary voting system that is used for all those different types of elections—