Interesting day in the House - will the Liberals support the proposal to change parliamentary boundaries?
Update:Boundary reform defeated by 334 to 292 so present parliamentary boundaries will be the same at 2015 as at 2010.
The defeat of boundary reform this afternoon, is not a good day for democracy.
We would have cut the cost of politics, and made the key point that constituencies should have equal number of votes so that votes have equal value.
The arrangement where the Conservatives or other parties have to secure a 7% lead over the Labour Party in votes to have an equal number of seats is unfair. If the Labour Party get more MPs but fewer votes than the Conservatives at the next election which party would the Lib Dems regard as having greater democracy legitimacy?
The Coalition Agreement said:
We will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. We will whip both Parliamentary parties in both Houses to support a simple majority referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum.
If the Conservatives had failed to deliver an AV referendum then the Lib Dems would have had a point. As it is there was nothing in the Coalition Agreement which the Conservatives have broken. There was a pledge to set up a committee on Lords Reform - not to approve whatever it might propose. As it was the Lords reform Bill passed by a massive majority at second reading. The only defeat was on a timetable motion.
The Coalition will go on - of that I am sure - but ....