Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill - Political and Constitutional Reform Committee Contents

4  Conclusion

146.  In an ideal world, reforms such as those proposed in the Bill would be brought forward on a cross-party basis. This is what the Government is attempting in its reform of the House of Lords and of party political finance. Given the partisan impact of some of the measures in the Bill, albeit that there may be principled reasons for introducing them, party political consensus was perhaps never going to be achieved in this case. Nonetheless, by not attempting to reach a consensus on its boundary reform proposals, the Government has strengthened the argument of those who claim that it is bringing forward the Bill for partisan motives, and made it more likely that future Governments of different political complexions may feel emboldened to bring forward other measures to their own political advantage without the benefit of cross-party support.

147.  Given that both of the parts of the Bill would significantly affect how voters are represented in Parliament, it is also worth asking why voters are being offered the opportunity to go to the polls in a referendum only on reform of the voting system, but not also on reform of constituency boundaries. If, as the Government claims, equalisation is to the benefit of voters, they would surely support the proposal if it was put to them directly.

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