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44 Tory MPs sign Early Day Motion opposing Coalition's timetable for AV vote

By Tim Montgomerie

Benedict Brogan has just blogged the details of Bernard Jenkin's Early Day Motion calling for the vote on AV to be decoupled from next year's Scottish and Welsh etc elections. Despite efforts of the Government Whips, 44 have signed at the time of blogging. It's an interesting list:

  1. David Amess
  2. Richard Bacon
  3. Brian Binley
  4. Peter Bone
  5. Andrew Bridgen
  6. Douglas Carswell
  7. James Clappison
  8. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
  9. Therese Coffey
  10. Tracey Crouch
  11. Glyn Davies
  12. David Davis
  13. Nadine Dorries
  14. Michael Fallon
  15. Mark Field
  16. James Gray
  17. Adam Holloway
  18. Bernard Jenkin
  19. Daniel Kawczynski
  20. Greg Knight
  21. Eleanor Laing
  22. Edward Leigh
  23. Julian Lewis
  24. Peter Lilley
  25. Ian Liddell-Grainger
  26. Jack Lopresti
  27. Stephen McPartland
  28. Mark Menzies
  29. Patrick Mercer
  30. Stephen Mosley
  31. David Nuttall
  32. Richard Ottaway
  33. Andrew Percy
  34. Mark Reckless
  35. John Redwood
  36. Jacob Rees-Mogg
  37. Sir Malcolm Rifkind
  38. Laurence Robertson
  39. Andrew Rosindell
  40. Richard Shepherd
  41. Bob Stewart
  42. Graham Stuart
  43. Robin Walker
  44. John Whittingdale

Given that Labour and nationalist MPs are also ready to oppose the Cabinet's preferred date there is a real possibility of defeat for the Coalition when the Bill is presented to the Commons in September.

The full text of Bernard Jenkin's EDM is below:


That this House notes that in 2002 the Electoral Commission, following consultations on the holding of a possible referendum on the Euro on the same day as other elections on 1 May 2003, issued a statement making clear that referendums on fundamental issues of national importance should be considered in isolation and that they should not be held at the same time as devolved assembly or local government elections; further notes that in a recent report the House of Lords Constitution Committee recommended that there should be a presumption against holding referendums on the same day as elections;  recognises that this advice is in accordance with best constitutional practice in countries such as Switzerland, where referendums are more regularly held; believes that this constitutional practice should be observed unless there are very exceptional reasons for it to be set aside; is concerned at the  proposal to hold the referendum on whether to change the voting system on 5 May 2011, which is the same day as elections to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and to local authorities in Northern Ireland, but only in parts of England; further believes that this proposal would allow other issues to cloud the referendum debate before the vote, would artificially inflate turnout in some parts of the country but not others, and that it may accordingly advantage one campaign at the expense of the other; proposes that any referendum on this issue should therefore be held on a different date; and looks forward to advice from the Electoral Commission on this matter which is consistent with its previous statements.


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