AV – the get-out clause

Also on AV, there’s an interesting piece by the very wonderful Sadie Smith in Total Politics this month, which says that AV can’t actually come into force at the next election unless/ until the revised constituency boundaries necessitated by the reduction in number of MPs by 50 are voted through Parliament. So if you’re a backbench Tory MP who hates AV (ie all of them) or a Labour MP who doesn’t support the reduction in the number of MPs (ie all of us) then you’re not going to vote the changes through…. and AV can’t happen. So the fat lady won’t be singing till October 2013, and in the meantime there’ll be mayhem as MPs won’t know whether their new constituencies will ever actually exist. It would be rather bizarre though, going into an election using FPTP when a switch to AV has been voted for in a referendum… And what happens then if the new Government doesn’t want to resurrect the boundary changes/ cuts to MPs? Does the AV decision still stand?

Here’s Sadie’s piece: http://www.totalpolitics.com/blog/156447/the-secret-av-escape-clause.thtml

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Mike Eakins  On April 18, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Another failure on the part of the Lib Dems then, their one key achievement from the coalition negotiations isn’t even grounded on solid foundations!

    I assume a new government could just sweep the whole issue under the carpet? And I doubt there would be any outcry from the majority of the electorate if that were to happen!

    Or is the AV referendum binding?

  • Alasdair  On April 18, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Boundary change chaos is going to start happening sooner than you think. I live in a seat we (Labour, that is) lost in 2010, and we’ve been chosen as one of the pilot seats for the new selection rules. Which means we’re being asked to select a new PPC over the next six months, with no idea what level of ‘winability’ the seat will actually have come the next election (it largely depends on how much bigger it gets, as it’s essentially a Labour town/town centre surrounded by Tory suburbs and villages)…

  • Denis Cooper  On April 18, 2011 at 10:48 am

    My layman’s reading of Section 4 of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986:


    is that:

    a) Parliament could certainly vote to implement the new boundaries; but

    b) Ultimately under sub-section (5) Parliament could not actually stop the government implementing them anyway; but

    c) Without Parliamentary approval there would then be the possibiilty of legal challenges which would otherwise be barred by sub-section (7).

    • kerrymccarthy  On April 18, 2011 at 11:31 am

      But is that superseded by the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011? Also, bear in mind, Cameron – and most of his Government – doesn’t WANT AV to go ahead, so would they be prepared to sacrifice the 50-seat cut and new constituencies to sabotage it?

  • Denis Cooper  On April 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    It’s Section 3 which is largely superseded:


    “(b) the draft of an Order in Council laid before Parliament under subsection (5A) of section 3 of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (substituted by section 10(6) below) has been submitted to Her Majesty in Council under section 4 of that Act.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: