Voting System Bill should be developed not delayed

Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Tyler, this week used a short House of Lords to emphasise that the AV referendum could and should go ahead on the 5th May unless significant changes were made to the specific part of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill that deals with that issue.

He highlighted the strong House of Commons defeats on proposals to delay the referendum and endorsed the view of Lord McNally, Liberal Democrat Justice Minister, that “this Bill deals with matters mainly to do with the House of Commons. When it comes here, this House will treat it with the respect due to such a Bill, but will give it the scrutiny that will help the Government in making it a good Bill to take to Royal Assent”

Commenting, Lord Tyler said:

“Since the Bill concerns itself with elections to the House of Commons, I do hope Peers will remember their long-held attachment to the primacy of that House, and not seek unnecessary delay just to exercise their own particular political hobby horses.

“Two attempts to change the date of the referendum were roundly defeated in the Commons on Tuesday by 323 to 28 and 326 to 264 respectively.

“Peers should help to make the Bill work to do what the Commons want it to do – that is, bring about a referendum and establish fair constituency boundaries – but it would be quite wrong to start unpicking the whole principle of the legislation.

“The Bill will no doubt be usefully developed in the Lords; it need not be delayed.”

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