Alex Cunningham MP accuses the coalition of rushing through AV Bill

Alex Cunningham today criticises the Coalition for attempting to rush through undemocratic and partisan changes to our electoral system.

When Members of Parliament return to Westminster on Monday, their focus will be on the Parliamentary voting system and constituencies Bill, due to be debated in the House of Commons. With this Bill, the Coalition Government seeks to bring forward legislation to allow a referendum on whether or not to introduce the Alternative Vote system for the election of Members of Parliament. Such a referendum is proposed to be held on the 5th May 2011.

Ahead of the debate, Alex said: “The fact is the Tories and Liberal Democrats have not thought this Bill through thoroughly. Nick Clegg demanded a referendum sooner rather than later to appease his party, many of whom are uncomfortable with the obviously regressive policies he insists they support as part of the coalition.”

“My main concern is that the timetable leaves no time to update the electoral register, meaning constituency boundaries will be re-drawn on the basis of incorrect data. The electoral commission states that ethnic minorities and those aged between 17-24 are groups which suffer from high levels of under-registration. I think it is shameful that the coalition is not seriously seeking to register more people from these groups before re-drawing constituency boundaries. In my constituency, several thousand people are eligible to vote but not registered. This will distort the electoral map of Britain and dilute the representation of people from poorer social groups and ethnic minority groups in the process.”

“I support the referendum on AV, but it stands in a shoddy and undemocratic Bill, which I cannot bring myself to support.”