Committee (14th Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 26th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Williamson of Horton Lord Williamson of Horton Crossbench 5:00 pm, 26th January 2011

My Lords, it is many years since I represented North Wales at cricket, but I assure the noble Lord, Lord Touhig, that I shall follow these discussions with considerable interest. I hope that he will allow me to make one brief intervention, which relates to Clause 11 as a whole. Thereafter, of course, the tour of Wales will continue. I have today tabled an amendment, to which we shall come eventually, but not immediately, which would defer the coming into force of Clause 11 until the end of the work of the Boundary Commission on the constituencies-that is, until the reports are laid before Parliament, the Secretary of State proposes to appoint a date and there are affirmative resolutions of both Houses.

I intervene briefly now to avoid any misunderstanding. If the coming into force of Clause 11 is deferred, we do not need to amend the clause now. I have tabled my amendment in the hope that it may contribute to an agreement that the Bill should pass, with a view to the referendum on the alternative vote on 5 May. In my view, it remains very important that we should try to get the Bill right. Obviously, there are the key questions of 5 per cent and the excluded constituencies. Before long, we shall come to the question of public inquiries. Today we have the question of the Welsh constituencies. I emphasise that I believe that all these amendments should be properly considered. If we can reach agreement, that is good. That is not inconsistent with my amendment, which would defer the coming into force of Clause 11 if the Bill is passed.