David Wilshire: Welcome back, Minister.
David Wilshire: It will indeed be the last time.
David Wilshire: Order. I am sorry to interrupt the Minister, but he went past a full stop, so I have to call a halt to the debate.
David Wilshire: Once I have retired, the attendance at Ashton Gate may increase a little. I understand that the club is looking for a manager. Should I apply, can I count on the Minister for a reference?
David Wilshire: It is a privilege to follow a speech such as the one that we have just heard. I do not necessarily agree with all of it, but a thoughtful and personal speech adds a great deal to any debate. This is probably the last speech that I will make in the House. Those who like to check such things might find that it is probably my first major speech on defence in the 23 years in which I have been a...
David Wilshire: The right hon. Gentleman knows that I have spent a fair bit of my 23 years here in Committee Rooms trying to wind him up; without succeeding, I hasten to add. I have waited a long time-it is a great pleasure to do so just before I leave this place-to say that I agree with the Government and with the Secretary of State. I wanted to get that on the record. What he has said about the Falklands...
David Wilshire: It is a myth that we do not have grand coalitions in this country. What a first-past-the-post system does is create the coalitions before an election. The Conservative party certainly has two wings, as has the Labour party, and the Liberal Democrats have the Liberals and the Social Democrats. Are not those coalitions?
David Wilshire: The hon. Gentleman mentioned Australia, and I am fairly certain that it was there that somebody managed, under an AV system, to get 6 per cent. of first preference votes and get elected. Is that a system that commends itself to him?
David Wilshire: Will the hon. Gentleman give way on that point?
David Wilshire: I am puzzled by what the hon. Gentleman has said.
David Wilshire: I am most grateful. The hon. Gentleman claimed that under the first-past-the-post system, someone who gets 6 per cent. of the vote can be elected. I am puzzled. Could he explain how, with just 6 per cent. of the vote, under the first-past-the-post system, someone could win?
David Wilshire: On my hon. and learned Friend's point about why only one alternative voting system would be offered, does he not think that if AV were such a good idea the Government would come forward with a list of opportunities and, using AV, tell the electorate to put them in some kind of order?
David Wilshire: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?
David Wilshire: I hope that hon. Members will forgive me for allowing the Minister to finish his comments. They no doubt wanted to hear them, but we should not have done that. We will pause for half a second while those who want to leave do so, and then we will start all over again as quickly as possible.
David Wilshire: Before I call Jo Swinson, I should say to Members that I have also been in the position of being frustrated when I could not be called. I am sorry, but I said that I would call Jo Swinson at 10.30.
David Wilshire: Before I call Mr. Ruane, may I point out that I hope to call Jo Swinson at half-past 10?
David Wilshire: Yes, you do.
David Wilshire: Order. Before the hon. Member for Inverclyde answers-this is nothing to do with what has just been said-I must point out that in the back row, from Geraldine Smith to Lindsay Hoyle, the microphones are not working. Until things are mended, it would be helpful, if they do not mind, if they sat in the front row.
David Wilshire: Order. That intervention should be a question, not the speech that the hon. Gentleman hopes to make shortly.
David Wilshire: Before I call Mr. Pickles, may I say two things? First, we have just under half an hour before I call the first Front Bencher at 10.30, and it looks as though there are at least three people plus Mr. Pickles wanting to speak. Secondly, those Members who like playing musical chairs can now sit anywhere, because I am told that all the microphones now work.