Elections Bill (Instruction)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:46 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) 8:46 pm, 20th September 2021

With the leave of the House, I will respond briefly to some of the points that right hon. and hon. Members have made.

I remind the House that this motion to instruct is to make a technical change to the Elections Bill Committee to allow it to consider the options before it. It is for Members of the House, across the House if they so wish, to bring forward amendments to the Committee that it can consider. I have no doubt that there is sufficient expertise on the Committee to consider these questions, which are pretty well-aired: they have been in the Conservative party manifesto, one way or another, over three consecutive elections. I think the Committee is properly disposed and well able to consider these matters, and if it feels it is not, there are other parts of parliamentary procedure that the House can employ. We will have Report stage. We will have Third Reading. There will be ample opportunity for the House to consider these matters.

It is rather rich for the SNP, the Greens, the Liberal Democrats and Labour to say that we are abusing democracy. I might remind them that in 2011 the country voted for first past the post by 67%, and yet the Greens seem to want to ignore that. I remind them that in 2016 the country voted to leave the European Union, but the Opposition parties tried every trick in the book to undermine the decisions of the British people. We will support the view of the British people that a simplified first-past-the-post election system is best, and we want the House to consider it. The House and the Committee will be able to consider it in the normal way. It is for the usual channels to determine whether further time might be given to the Committee for consideration. However, I am confident that when all is said and done, this House will have the opportunity to debate these matters frankly and fully, recognising what the Home Affairs Committee said in 2016—that first past the post is the best way to elect police and crime commissioners. With respect to the Opposition, I commend this simple technical motion to the House.

Question put.