I didn’t realise Stephen Williams was on what we call “the Clegg committee” until I saw its latest (first?) press release, announcing an inquiry into the referendum on AV and proposal for fixed-term parliaments. (See below for info – and request for public contributions).
Stephen asked me yesterday about my stance on AV, suggesting that we might need to set up a Bristol ‘yes’ campaign for the referendum, which is all well and good – as I told him, I will be voting yes – but it may be a bit difficult if the Government insists on going ahead with its plans to hold the referendum on the same day as Scottish, Welsh and local elections. One council seat in every ward in Bristol East is up next May, and that will most certainly be my priority.
We (by which I mean, the Labour party) also have real reservations about the Government’s plans to cut the number of MPs and rejig constituency boundaries in the same piece of legislation. So although I support the referendum, and will be voting yes, I can’t promise my wholehearted support for the enabling legislation which we expect to come before the House in the early autumn unless these issues are addressed. And then we’ll see how we go about campaigning in Bristol.
Here’s the press release from the Committee. Your views are solicited…
Political and Constitutional Reform Committee
Select Committee Announcement
14 July 2010
COMMITTEE SEEKS YOUR VIEWS ON VOTING AND PARLIAMENTARY REFORM PROPOSALS
The newly created Political and Constitutional Reform Committee decided at its first meeting this morning to scrutinise the government’s proposals:
- to hold a national referendum on using the alternative vote system at general elections, to reduce the size of the House of Commons, and to equalise the size of parliamentary constituencies, and
- to establish fixed-term Parliaments of five years.
The committee would welcome your views in writing on these proposals. The committee is keen to hear from the general public as well as from established voices. Graham Allen MP, the committee chair, said “I would also like to hear from you about how we can involve the widest number of people in giving their views, not least via new media.”
Government bills to implement these proposals are expected to begin their passage through Parliament later this month. Some information on the proposals was included in the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons on 5 July.
The committee will be holding a number of public hearings in July and September, including an opening session with the Deputy Prime Minister tomorrow, 15 July. Other witnesses will be confirmed at a later date.
How to respond
Responses should be submitted as soon as possible, and by Friday 3rd September at the latest. Please send your views by email to email@example.com. If you do not have access to email, you may send a paper copy of your response to the Clerk of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Committee Office, First Floor, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.
Each submission should:
- be no more than 3,000 words in length;
- begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
- have numbered paragraphs; and
- be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.
Written submissions will usually be treated as evidence to the Committee and may be published as part of a final report. If you object to your response being made public in a volume of evidence, please make this clear when it is submitted.
Committee Membership is as follows: Mr Graham Allen (Chair) (Nottingham North), Nick Boles (Grantham and Stamford), Mr Christopher Chope (Christchurch), Sheila Gilmore (Edinburgh East), Simon Hart (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire), Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Mrs Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest), Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North), Sir Peter Soulsby (Leicester South), Mr Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight) and Stephen Williams (Bristol West).
Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/pcrc