End in sight for AV Bill in the House of Lords

It seems that after two weeks debate, the saga of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill is finally going to end, with it passing the committee stage of the Lords. The BBC’s Michael Crick just tweeted: “Lord Strathclyde announces Lords committee on AV bill will finish Wednesday. Follows deal with crossbenchers.”

Lord Strathclyde, who is the Leader of the Conservatives (and therefore the Government,) in the House of Lords, gave a statement to the House in which he announced that the Government had offered a “package of concessions” to peers blocking the Bill. The Bill has to be passed by the middle of February in order for the AV Referendum to take place as proposed on May 5th. Knowing that a Government guillotine could be enforced, it looks like opposition peers have extracted as much from the situation as possible, after facing increasing dissent from non-aligned cross bench colleagues.

Frankly this has been an embarrassment not only to the Labour party peers filibustering, but the entire House of Lords. The image of unelected Parliamentarians, camping out in the Lords or asleep on the red benches in an attempt block legislation to make votes equal, proves once and for all why there is a need for greater political reform. While there are still other stages of debate to endure, at last this farcical situation seems to be coming to an end.


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