BUSINESS QUESTION  PR – 4 July 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: May we have a debate in Government time on early-day motion 1490 [opposing proportional representation]?

[That this House notes the comments of the Right honourable Member for Greenwich and Woolwich, the Minister responsible for electoral law, that "Any provisions on European Parliament elections laid down by the Council (including amendments to the 1976 Act) need to be ratified with an Act of Parliament in the UK"; further notes that the UK is, therefore, free to adopt any electoral system of its choosing for future elections to the European Parliament; believes that, by removing the vital link between each elected representative and their constituents and consequently encouraging voter apathy, proportional representation has not served the UK well; also notes with concern that proportional voting systems in other parts of Europe have allowed far-right parties to gain a foothold; and further believes that the UK's next elections to the European Parliament could, and should, be held under the First Past the Post electoral system.]

I ask for the debate in Government time because 49 of the 53 hon. Members who have so far signed the early-day motion happen to be Labour Members. However, if such a debate is too embarrassing for the Government, I suggest an alternative one on the more innocuous subject of squatters' rights. In such a debate, the Deputy Prime Minister could explain whether he intends to stay in his RMT-owned flat, now that he has correctly resigned from that union on a point of principle.