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