Constitutional Renewal — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:12 pm on 10th June 2009.

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Photo of Lord Maclennan of Rogart Lord Maclennan of Rogart Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, Spokesperson for Constitutional Affairs, Spokesperson for Scotland 4:12 pm, 10th June 2009

My Lords, does the Leader of the House accept that the core of the message that she read out is that fundamental reform is required to restore the trust of the people in our parliamentary democracy; and that if that trust is to be restored, it must be accepted that the myth propagated by the Opposition Front Bench that the present voting system produces strong government has not been borne out by the events of the past few weeks?

Secondly, does she agree that if the legitimacy of Parliament is to be secured, and trust in our parliamentary democracy reinstated, we need to take action on our electoral system before the next election, which could condemn the country to a do-nothing Government?

Finally, does she accept that, if we cannot go the whole way—we probably cannot in the 300-plus days that are left—one way to meet the hunger of the people would be to arrange the next election with a system that allows at least 50 per cent of the electors in each constituency to decide who is going to be their MP? That could be done without altering boundaries after a long Boundary Commission study, but by the votes of this House and by presenting the case that I have suggested for something to be done with the immediate crisis of our constitution in mind.