Liberal Democrats vote against PR
If you ever had any trouble understanding what the Liberal Democrats stood for, one thing was always certain: the Lib Dems are for PR.
The Liberal Democrats, it may charitably be said, are a broad church. They are a party that like any other has legitimate disagreement on policy. But most observers and party members alike would say commitment to proportional representation is the sine qua non of Liberal Democrat politics.
That our representatives’ numbers bear scant relationship to the numbers of votes cast for them is, Lib Dems correctly say, a clear injustice that undermines the legitimacy of our whole democracy. Or, as now-Energy Secretary Chris Huhne put it during the election campaign:
“The Alternative Vote is a small step in the right direction, but it is not a proportional system and it does not give voters real power over both the party and the person elected as MP.
“Only the Single Transferable Vote in multi-member seats would abolish MPs’ meal tickets for life, and we will fight to amend this proposal to give people a real choice for a more significant change.”
Well, it turns out they didn’t have to fight. One Green, one Conservative and one Labour MP this evening tabled that very amendment to that very proposal.
Caroline Lucas, Douglas Carswell and Austin Mitchell proposed an amendment to give us, the voters, the choice of whether to have PR or not. They would have offered us the referendum questions:
1. Do you want to change the current “first past the post” system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons?
2. If there were a change, list your order of preference, 1, 2, 3, for the United Kingdom to adopt:
a. The ‘alternative vote’ system,
b. The ‘additional member’ system, or
c. The ‘single transferable vote’ system with multi-member constituencies.
Finally, the Liberal Democrats have the chance, in the committee of the whole House, to fight for STV.
Reader, they voted against.
What do the Liberal Democrats stand for now?
The link to the amendments: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmbills/063/amend/pbc0631210m.281-287.html
And the Hansard record of the debate and vote:
Those members who voted in favour of PR:
Hollobone, Mr Philip
Llwyd, Mr Elfyn
MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan
McDonnell, Dr Alasdair
Ritchie, Ms Margaret
Smith, rh Mr Andrew
Weir, Mr Mike
Whiteford, Dr Eilidh
Tellers for the Ayes:
Austin Mitchell and
Mr Douglas Carswell
Gary, the link to the proposed amendment doesn’t work. I would like to read it..
Coalitions require compromise, but there have to be some things you won’t compromise on…
Greens quit Finland’s coalition
Finland’s Green Party has walked out of the country’s coalition government after parliament voted to proceed with controversial plans to build the country’s fifth nuclear reactor.
The Green Party has held a conference over the weekend to discuss what action to take following the reactor decision.
Delegates voted 38-8 to go into opposition, party officials said.
The decision means the government will need to appoint a new environment minister to succeed the Greens’ Satu Hassi.
Your first question is beneath you, Finn. No-one bought that “it’s not us, guv, it’s just our MPs” stuff when it was Labour betraying us and they won’t now either.
As to your second, you’re right that coalition requires compromise but your voters have a reasonable expectation that core principles will not be capitulated upon.
This blog is happy to criticise bad Green coalitions too, so partisan whataboutery isn’t really relevant.
Sorry Gary, I’m confused when did the Liberal Democrat conference vote against PR?
It’s a coalition, you have to compromise – just like Green Parties in Europe -‘German Greens support coal power station’ anyone?