I don’t often so strongly disagree with Baroness Murphy below but I do on this issue. The core is not the referendum on AV – that is the easy bit and if the Bill had been split into parts as it should have been then that could be back in the Commons now.
The problem is a very important constitutional one. Governments SHOULD NOT restructure the House of Commons without either all party support or an independent enquiry particularly on re ordering the constituencies – or gerrymandering as it is called in the US.
My speech on amendment 59 linked in my post below spells out the danger of this. This is a very difficult Bill for the opposition because we know it comes from a political agreement by just two political party’s and will disadvantage the other partys in the Commons (see my comments on the evidence for this in my last post).
It is also difficult for the cross benchers because they do not have the same ‘hinterland’ that politicians have. Eleccted politicians have to answer to their voters and supporters. If this goes through without some recognition that it is fundamentally wrong for governments to change Parliament without all party agreement then future governments will do the same. What will stop the next government and the one after that coming to power and deciding to change the numbers in Parliament to suit there own political advantage? This way lies gerrymandering and political instability.
Yes, what is happening is bad for the House but this Bill in its present form is bad for the constitution.