The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill is being debated at the moment. I’ve been in the Chamber but have popped up to the office for a while. Some very good speeches, and incredible passion on the Tory side against the Bill. There will be some rebels tonight, but I think the real trouble will be in October, at Committee stage. They’re against it for miscellaneous reasons – some oppose AV, some oppose the reduction of number of MPs, some don’t think the referendum should be on the same day as the elections next May, and some just hate the fact they’re being forced to do something that wasn’t in their manifesto in order to keep the much loathed Lib Dems happy.
I don’t have time to blog about it now… we’ll be voting at 10pm, and there’ll probably be three or four votes which will keep us occupied for an hour. It’s worth checking out Hansard tomorrow though. In particular, Charles Walker, the Tory MP for Broxbourne, made a very good contribution, and George Eustice, who used to run the anti-Euro campaign and will now be running the anti-AV campaign was worth listening to. (He’s a Cornish MP, and at one point, when asked about boundary changes, said “Cornwall is a special case. It’s not just a county, it’s a duchy.” Eh?)
I will leave you with the contribution from Fiona Mactaggart, opposing the boundary changes, who informed the House that Thames Water have calculated that according to the amount of sewage produced by the good people of Slough, there must be 20,000 more of them than are currently recorded on the electoral register. I am ashamed to say I have no knowledge of whether a similar exercise has ever been carried out in Bristol East, but I’m intrigued as to how they reach their conclusions. Couldn’t it just be, well, diet-related?
There’s a motion on the order paper tonight re the appointment of new Electoral Commissioners – perhaps finally a chance for Gillian McKeith to put her expertise to good use?