New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Although, sadly, the Deputy Prime Minister is no longer with us – corporeally, at any rate – I was concerned, as I trust you were, at the widespread reports in the weekend press that he had vetoed any prospect of a referendum on the possible introduction of a proportional representation voting system for elections to a reformed Upper House. Given the constitutional importance of such an issue and the motivation that it is clearly designed to help the Liberal Democrats retain a permanent stranglehold on future legislative processes, should not such announcements be made initially to this House rather than via the media?

[Mr Speaker: That was a scintillating polemic for the House to savour, but what I would say to the hon. Gentleman, whom I have known for 29 years this October, is that although the logic of his attempted point of order is compelling, it suffers as a point of order from the disadvantage that the premise on which the logic has been built is, in my judgment, misplaced. The reason I say that to the hon. Gentleman is that the Deputy Prime Minister was not announcing a change of Government policy but, as far as I can tell, merely reiterating the status quo. That will have to do for now, but all these matters will doubtless be explored eloquently, in detail and at length in the upcoming debates on House of Lords reform, to which I fancy the hon. Gentleman will wish to contribute.]