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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:33 pm on 23rd April 2019.

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Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (House of Lords) 5:33 pm, 23rd April 2019

I will not, because I have only two minutes left.

Others have remarked that all these practical obstacles to PR suggest that nobody has ever tried it, but the truth is that we have proportional representation systems—not just in Scotland, but in Wales, in Northern Ireland and in this city, for the London Assembly. It does not lead to the catastrophe that many suggest; indeed, it works fairly well.

I want to suggest what we can do. I welcome this debate. I am sure that the Minister will take a good stab at defending the Government’s position, but I know what he will say, if I am honest. I am more interested in what the Opposition spokesperson will say. All the opposition parties in this Parliament of minorities need to begin a dialogue among themselves, because if the Government will not offer change, we need to prepare to see what a new election and a new Parliament might do. That dialogue needs to happen. In that regard, I commend the work of Make Votes Matter, which has begun to focus on not just particular systems, but the guiding principles behind the systems, so that we design a system to achieve our objectives. I hope that the Labour party will join the other minority parties in this Chamber in advocating those principles.