The first reading of the bill on a referendum over the Alternative Vote system has been successful with a majority of 59. There are a number of additional steps to take before it will have actually been past and the process of preparing for next years May 5 referendum can begin.
However the reading has revealed there is bitterness between the Conservative and Liberal Democrats. A number of Conservative backbenchers have agreed to vote for the change to the voting system as “a matter of honour” – it was agreed by part of the coalition agreement when coming to power. It is rather disturbing that some MPs are actually against a more democratic voting system. I guess they are likely to be the MPs that are in areas which an AV system would see them lose their seat due to the huge number of votes against them? Or perhaps they are part of the 50 MPs which would lose their seat with the reduction in MPs when parliament shrinks in size.
David Davis raises a concern about the number of people that will turn out for the referendum thinking that it will be a very low turn out to make a major political change in the UK for centuries. However, given that the turn out for the general election was the highest it had been since 2001. Given the number of issues associated with people getting turned away from voting, I think the concern is minimum. The general public want to see change to the political system and trust needs to be rebuilt in the Government to secure a functional country.