I hadn't realised it was so long since I had lasted posted on this blog - we were busy in Westminster up to the end of July, and then I had a couple of weeks holiday, and I never got round to posting. But back to the blog now!
For the first time in a few years, we are back at Westminster for a couple of weeks this September. The main item on the first day back (6 September)will be the first stage in the new government's plans to introduce the 'Alternative Vote'(AV)combined with a reduction in number of parliamentary constituencies.
The government has been criticised, rightly in my view, for the way it has combined these two issues in one Bill, and has also refused to allow proper 'pre-legsilative' scrutiny of the Bill - something the LibDems in particular were very keen on before they became part of the government. The only real reason for rushing the legislation through and linking these in this way is because of the deal between the Tories and LibDems (the LibDems want AV, and the Tories want to change constituency sizes).
I, and Labour (and I suspect many of the smaller parties) won't support the way this is being handled. I am in favour of electoral reform, have been for many years, so I don't see why taking a few more months to do this properly can't be found. After all, that would allow a proper debate on other forms of electoral reform. AV is not proper proportional representation - it is (marginally) better than the present system, in my view, but I would like to see Parliament having a chance to at least debate proper proportional representation, and having a chance to vote on such alternatives rather than being presented, in effect, with AV or nothing.
I'll be coming back to this subject later, I'm sure.