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Reform Bill 2014  

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Richard
(@richard)
Member A-team
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 124
17/06/2019 11:57 pm  

Matthew Oakeshott, Baron Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

My Lords,

I am most glad that the Other Place has agreed with a number of our recommendations for this bill. However, I feel that it is in the best interest of British politics that we send it back again.

One of the most important foundations is that of the Salisbury Convention - that my Lords have the power to offer amendments to a Government bill, provided that they are not wrecking amendments. We have used this on occasion while I have been here, and that is what means there will not be a referendum on the reform of this House.

In their 2014 manifesto, the government said that "any constitutional change beyond that to which we have committed in our manifesto (which is therefore subject to the Salisbury convention) would be approved by a public referendum, in which a plurality of voters in each of the United Kingdom’s four constituent countries would need to signal approval."

Recognizing this, we passed an amendment to ensure that this happened - namely, in regards to reforming the voting system to STV and on a change in the voting age, two promises that were not in the manifesto of the leading coalition party. As such, I propose Amendment 19, which reads as follows:

"Insert new clause Part 1, Section 3: “Sections 1(6) and 1(7) of this Part shall only come into force if approved by a referendum. The referendum only provides approval if there are more votes in favour than against in all four nations of the United Kingdom. The Secretary of State shall lay Regulations regarding the date, question and conduct of such a referendum.”"

I commend this amendment to the House and urge the government parties in the other place to keep their promises and support this amendment.

Rick the Admin - The Resident Psephologist
Admin for Cabinet, PM's Office, DPM's Office, Defence, Energy, Regions, Environment, Transport, Communities, Elections, and Advisor to Labour and the Lib Dems


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Richard
(@richard)
Member A-team
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 124
17/06/2019 11:59 pm  

Lord Speaker

Clear the bar!

The Lords, having voted, return.

Lord Speaker

There have voted -

Amendment 19

Content: 325

Not Content: 156

So the Contents have it.

Third Reading

Voice vote Content

Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.

Rick the Admin - The Resident Psephologist
Admin for Cabinet, PM's Office, DPM's Office, Defence, Energy, Regions, Environment, Transport, Communities, Elections, and Advisor to Labour and the Lib Dems


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Richard
(@richard)
Member A-team
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 124
18/06/2019 12:01 am  

Consideration of Lords Amendments

Mr. Speaker

Order. I must acquaint the House that the Other Place has returned the Reform Bill to this House with one amendment, namely:

Amendment 19 (Referendum on Voting Age)

I now call a minister to move the necessary motions.

Rick the Admin - The Resident Psephologist
Admin for Cabinet, PM's Office, DPM's Office, Defence, Energy, Regions, Environment, Transport, Communities, Elections, and Advisor to Labour and the Lib Dems


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Sylviane Jaubert
(@ege)
Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 136
18/06/2019 9:25 am  

I beg to move that this House disagrees with the Lords in their Amendments 19

Sylviane Jaubert MP
MP for Cynon Valley

Formerly as The Rt Hon Ariadne "Ari" Suchet MP
Former Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party

"TrashPotato Today at 2:11 AM
my friend offered me a bottle of vodka and i sucked the vodka out the bottle like a baby sucking a titty"


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Steven Andrews
(@steven-andrews)
Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 106
18/06/2019 9:50 pm  

Mr. Speaker,
Why is the Prime Minister so dead set on defying her own manifesto from the last election?  The manifesto was clear that any major Constitutional changes which were not directly foreseen in the Manifesto were to be put to a referendum...or, perhaps, to a General Election fought on the issues in question where a new manifesto would be presented.

If the Prime Minister were to be inclined to stick to her manifesto, she could always accept the amendment.  She has not done so.

If the Prime Minister were to consider the element of the referendum requiring four-nation agreement as problematic, she could of course beg the moving of a replacement amendment.  She has not done so.

It is one thing to pick a hill to die on that involves sticking to one's guns.  That might be brave or courageous, but it can at least be called admirable and history often looks well on it.  This?  I can't even explain it in terms of normal, rational thought.  Were one to apply the regular process of reasoning in government to this situation, they would either be calling for two qualified doctors in short order or waiting for an inspector to barge into the room and cite us for forgetting the punchline, such is the absurdity of this.

Indeed, at times I have to wonder...is the Prime Minister even really the Prime Minister?  Is she really running the show?  Or is the Deputy Prime Minister, whose party the voters did not vote for though who seems to be in danger of eclipsing the Prime Minister in popularity, really running the show?  Is the nominal Prime Minister really just "along for the ride" and letting the leader of the Third Party do all of the heavy lifting for her and quietly signing off?  Or is he perhaps holding her at a proverbial gunpoint with the risk of an electoral massacre?  The world wonders.

Mr. Speaker, at the very least this House should accept this amendment in modified form if not in its existing form.  This element of this over-bloated wreck of a bill is not something the voters voted on...if anything, given the choice they voted against it.  But yet again, the PM continues chugging along, fighting tooth and nail against any change to the bill that isn't purely technical in nature, even if such changes would be in line with her manifesto.

At the very least, this whole mess of a process suggests one thing: Labour voters might as well vote for the Liberal Democrats at the next election.  After all, Labour voters are getting the LibDems anyway, so they might as well just park their vote over there and get it over with.

Steven Andrews, MP for Croydon South

34 Policy/18 Media/23 Parliamentary


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General Goose
(@general-goose)
Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 299
19/06/2019 10:31 am  

Mr Speaker,

For the clarity of those watching this debate play out, what the party opposite is insisting on is a referendum - which, I hasten to add, is something that for good reason we have not based our democracy around - on the lowering of the voting age to 16 and the preservation of the right to vote for British expats. They are avoiding touching upon what it is exactly that they are demanding a referendum on. Notably, the last speech from the member from Croydon South is emblematic of this debate in that he didn't name the actual provisions subject to discussion. 

There has been little discussion in the House on the actual merits of these changes - presumably that is out of an acceptance that it is incredibly erroneous that 16 and 17 year olds enjoy many legal rights and responsibilities yet without the accompanying right to vote. Presumably the House is agreed that it is unjust that British citizens who move abroad are eventually deprived of their right to vote after 15 years, or denied it altogether if they failed to register before moving abroad. Fixing these injustices was agreed upon within the coalition agreement and there is every mandate for us to rectify these glaring flaws. 

Mr Speaker, the Labour Party manifesto did commit themselves to backing referendums in certain conditions on major constitutional changes, with the exception of replacing the Lords with the Senate - as proposed by the Leader of the Opposition in his days of independence. There is a referendum on the transition to a new electoral system. That is in the bill. It has been in the bill for some time. However, I do not see how an expansion of the franchise constitutes a constitutional change that deserves a referendum in the manner promised by the Labour Party manifesto. It does not fundamentally change how government is decided, how the constitution works, how laws are passed or power wielded. 

In fact, I feel there is something rather appalling about making the right to vote dependent on a referendum. Referendums encourage binary thinking, encourage division and polarisation, in a way that may well be defensible for some issues, but is scarcely defensible when it comes to the democratic rights of others. Subjecting something as fundamental, as core to democratic participation, as the right to vote to the approval of others is something that I think is actually rather counter to democratic norms. 

To summarise, Mr Speaker - these rectifications of the law to protect voting rights are neither the appropriate subjects for a referendum nor are they major constitutional changes that require a referendum for approval. 

Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat Leader
Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Technology

Parliamentary - 36
Media - 53
Policy - 46


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Steven Andrews
(@steven-andrews)
Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 106
19/06/2019 1:50 pm  

Mr. Speaker,
I thank the Prime Minister for his remarks.  Oh, no, I know who spoke up, but I think we all know who is running the show on the Government benches and it is not the Member for Holborn and St Pancras.  It hasn't been that Member for some time.  She may be the First Lord of the Treasury and she may have weekly conferences with Her Majesty, but the Member for Sutton and Cheam actually deigns to appear with us quite more often, is clearly running the government's policy, and I think we should all just acknowledge that reality and move on.  It might be just as well for us to direct confidence motions in his direction instead of hers while we're at it.

As to the substance of the debate, I did not think it necessary to repeat what you, Mr. Speaker, made clear was at hand.

I would like to be clear: I do support extending the right to vote to British citizens living abroad, though I think we need better provisions to ensure that the secret ballot can, in fact, be preserved...but that is an issue with postal voting in general.  The current provisions are arguably a bit odd, but I am not opposed to working some fixes in there.  This would, in fact, make for a fine piece of legislation on its own if the Government were not so obsessed with throwing the kitchen sink in with this bill.  In fact, we could probably get such a separate bill passed long before this one gets done with the current tennis match.

Extending the franchise below the age of eighteen is not, however, something that I am in favor of.  Eighteen has, as far as I can tell, been generally accepted as the threshold for adulthood in many respects of the law.  There is a reason that, as a rule, those who commit crimes before that age are tried separately and granted certain elements of leniency and mercy under the law.  Would my colleague be prepared to pursue dropping that line to the age of sixteen as well?  I know that the UN might have other ideas, but in principle?

Of course, I think we all know what the game is, and it comes down to the very binary thinking that my colleague just derided: The Member for Sutton and Cheam cannot get most of these changes through on their own.  His junior partners in the Labour Party might not go along with them.  So instead, as a way of ensuring that the Labour Party...which did run on a wish list of constitutional aspiration at the last election like the Liberal Democrats did...implements a programme of changes that the Prime Minister wants, and that the leader of the Labour Party is likely to go along with as well, all of this stuff is loaded into a single bloated bill and the Government repeatedly goes to pains to make sure that we have to take either the whole measure or none of it.

After all, it wouldn't do to try and fish out a situation where we only get Lords reform, now, would it?  That wouldn't be radical enough.  It might even have passed on the first go to the Other Place, or at most have gone through some technical fixes and then sailed along smoothly.  And then the Government might have to come up with other legislation to fill the parliamentary calendar between budgets.  Not that I am not grateful for not having to deal with other proposals...I am sure that the Liberal looney bin could come up with some really "interesting" bills for us to debate...but it hardly seems to be what the government is supposed to do, now, doesn't it?  Or perhaps the Coalition is just a truly split wreck, set to fall apart if the wrong bill slips onto the calendar?

So. Mr. Speaker, in the end we get stuck with a binary proposition as well because the Member for Sutton and Cheam demands it.  Whether it is as a means to implementing the Third Party's legislative agenda without any semblance of an electoral mandate or as a means to burn up clock time in the House so that government doesn't have to deal with other issues, we continue going back and forth on this bloated mess again...and again...and again.

Steven Andrews, MP for Croydon South

34 Policy/18 Media/23 Parliamentary


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Richard
(@richard)
Member A-team
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 124
21/06/2019 5:38 pm  

Division! Clear the Lobbies!

(Vote AYE to agree with the Government and disagree with the Lords. Vote NOE to disagree with the Government and agree with the Lords.)

Rick the Admin - The Resident Psephologist
Admin for Cabinet, PM's Office, DPM's Office, Defence, Energy, Regions, Environment, Transport, Communities, Elections, and Advisor to Labour and the Lib Dems


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Macmillan
(@dylan-macmillan)
MP for North East Bedfordshire
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 525
21/06/2019 5:40 pm  

No

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition

Prime Minister (2014)

Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)


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Steven Andrews
(@steven-andrews)
Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 106
21/06/2019 5:42 pm  

Noe

Steven Andrews, MP for Croydon South

34 Policy/18 Media/23 Parliamentary


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Douglas Byrne
(@douglas-byrne)
Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 37
21/06/2019 9:55 pm  

No


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General Goose
(@general-goose)
Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 299
21/06/2019 11:24 pm  

Aye

Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat Leader
Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Technology

Parliamentary - 36
Media - 53
Policy - 46


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Sylviane Jaubert
(@ege)
Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 136
21/06/2019 11:26 pm  

Aye

Sylviane Jaubert MP
MP for Cynon Valley

Formerly as The Rt Hon Ariadne "Ari" Suchet MP
Former Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party

"TrashPotato Today at 2:11 AM
my friend offered me a bottle of vodka and i sucked the vodka out the bottle like a baby sucking a titty"


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John Knox
(@jknox)
Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 78
22/06/2019 3:45 pm  

Aye

Calvin Ward Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

Parliamentary- 7
Media- 13
Policy- 6


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Isaac
(@isaac)
Member
Joined: 1 month ago
Posts: 16
22/06/2019 9:31 pm  

No


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