Home > Uncategorized > Week ahead in Westminster – Ping-pong time?

Week ahead in Westminster – Ping-pong time?

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

In the week before recess for both House, one thing is likely to dominate proceedings:

The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.

Oh goody!

On Monday, we have the Third Reading in the Lords—the last chance for peers to alter the Bill—with the only interesting amendment relating to party election broadcasts. If the amendment goes through, party election broadcasts won’t be allowed during the AV referendum campaign if they imply that the party is supporting either the for or against camp.

On Tuesday the Bill returns to the Commons for consideration of the changes made by the Lords. These include the introduction of a 40% turnout threshold—which I suspect will have Tory backbench support—and the loosening of rules governing constituency size.

A document released on Friday outlining the Government’s response to the Report stage of the Bill in the Lords suggests that the Coalition will fight against the amendment that would increase the variance in size of constituency from 10% to 15%.

Labour are also likely to try to frustrate the progress of the Bill as they try to force a de-coupling of the two elements. They oppose the reduction in numbers of MPs, and also object to the way in which boundaries are being redrawn.

On Wednesday the fun really begins. We are likely to see a bit of ping-pong, with various newspapers suggesting that we could be in for an all-nighter. But with the Government needing to get the Bill ratified to secure a May 5th referendum, we are likely to see it pushed through.

Elsewhere, Oliver Letwin is in front of the Lords Science and Technology sub-committee discussing behaviour change on Tuesday, while Nick Hurd and Justin Greening appear before the Public Admin committee. They will be answering questions about the funding of the voluntary sector, continuing the Big Society theme that has kicked off the week.


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