Proportional Representation: House of Commons — [Mr Nigel Evans in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 23rd April 2019.

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Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Independent, Penistone and Stocksbridge 4:30 pm, 23rd April 2019

What I will say is that I do not favour a system that removes the constituency link. We must have a system that keeps the constituency link in place. One of the reasons the alternative vote referendum failed is that AV is not proper PR. We need proper PR, but we need the constituency link.

If we win approval in Parliament for implementing a new PR system, we should begin the process of establishing a proportional system by holding deliberative discussions—citizens’ assemblies—across the country to develop the right option for our country. That is the way we should do this. I am not going to say which system I want to see. That is not for me to decide. The country has to decide which system suits us best. That is the best way of approaching the implementation of a change in the voting system.

As I said, we need a more pluralistic system that gives back control to voters. That is what the democratic process is about. The days of patronising voters and managing their choices for them are over, and we need to recognise that. No longer can excuses be made to avoid change. Indeed, every new legislature created by this Parliament uses some form of PR. Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the London Assembly all use proportional systems. STV, Mr Evans, is even used to elect the Deputy Speakers of this House.

I am convinced that change is coming. It is overdue. I apologise for my tardiness in acknowledging the strength of the argument for PR, but better late than never. Let’s get on with it.