Peers Back Down Over Voting System Reform

Let the battle commence with the AV votes. There is no doubt that both campaigns will be upping their campaign on both side Yes or No camps. Remember never be pressurised to support or not to support. I’m sure that you or we can make up our own minds to decide which way to vote. However, all Labour Party Members should stick to the following instructions from Labour Party HQ

A reminder If you are a Labour Party Member and a CLP Secretary am sure that I don’t have to remind you that party funds can not be used as the Labour Party is not registered as a campaigner in the national referendum on voting reform.

As a consequence no Labour Party units is allowed in this referendum or to use any LP resource for campaigning in it. It’s not just a rule set by the Labour party these procedures are set down in law:

  • CLP’s & Labour Party  branches cannot affiliate or donate money to the YES OR NO campaigns.
  • Local Election material cannot urge voters to vote one way or another in the Referendum.
  • We cannot provide information to assist the YES OR NO campaigns.
  • Labour Party funds must not be used to promote ether the Yes or NO campaigns.

As individual Labour Party Member you arefree to sign up to the Yes or No campaign. You are just prevented from doing so  in the name of the Labour Party and from using any local regional or national Labour Party money or resources to support either campaign.

A referendum on changing the voting system for general elections will now take place on May 5 after peers opposed to the Government’s bill eventually backed down.

The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill received royal assent last night after a torrid passage through the Commons and Lords.

Ministers needed to get the Bill through Parliament before peers began their February half-term recess today in order for preparations to be made to hold the referendum at the same time as elections to the devolved institutions and local councils in England.

Earlier, for the second time in 24 hours, the Commons threw out an amendment by the Lords demanding that any referendum on dumping first-past-the-post elections for AV (alternative vote) should be binding only if there was a turnout of at least 40%.


This is a real milestone in restoring trust in our political system and making our democracy fairer

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

The AV system allows electors to rank candidates in order of preference.

The Bill was first debated in the Commons on September 6 last year.

But its passage through Parliament was held up by a dogged rearguard action from Labour peers, which saw the committee stage in the Lords drag on for 17 days, with late-night and all-night sittings.

Labour wanted to wreck the Bill because it also includes proposals to cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600, and create constituencies with roughly equal numbers of voters.


Ballot box

Voters can choose to ditch the first-past-the-post system

In a sign of how important the legislation was, Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called off an official visit to South America this week to help secure the Bill’s passage.

After the Bill became law he said: “This is a real milestone in restoring trust in our political system and making our democracy fairer.

“Constituencies will be redrawn, so that votes are more equal throughout the country.

“And, for the first time, through a referendum, voters will have a say in the system they use to elect their MPs.

“Together, these measures will help put the expenses scandal behind us and start to restore trust in our political institutions.”


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