[First Published on Thursday 17th February 2011]
The following post was first published on ConSoc’s previous site. It is recorded here as a window onto issues as they were at the time. For more up to date news on the Constitution and Constitutional reform, make sure to follow the ConSoc blog.
A binding referendum will be held on May 5th to decide whether to change the voting system to the Alternative Vote.
The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill received royal assent last night, in time for the programmed referendum date.
While the Lords voted twice to require a minimum 40% turnout in order for the referendum result to be binding, the amendment was overturned by a Commons majority of 68.
Also removed from the final Bill was Lord Pannick’s amendment increasing the amount by which constituencies will be permitted to vary from the national quota.
The most significant government concessions are the special consideration given to the Isle of Wight and the provision for public hearings on boundary review proposals, both of which made it onto the statute book.
The asymmetrical nature of the Bill means that the provisions relating to the reduction in the number of MPs and the redrawing of constituency boundaries will take effect in 2015 regardless of the result of the referendum on AV. A ‘yes’ vote in the referendum, however, will only lead to a change in the voting system once boundary changes have been implemented.