CABINET OFFICE – AV & CONSTITUENCIES BILL – 2 November 2010

[Sadiq Khan: I welcome the Deputy Prime Minister to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill. He may have missed the contribution made by the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Eleanor Laing), who reminded us that the first and only time that he graced the Chamber with his presence was on Second Reading on 6 September 2010. He reminds us of Alfred Hitchcock in those classic films in which he has a walk-on part and then comes back at the end for a bow. However, unlike Hitchcock, the right hon. Gentleman brought a posse with him for fear of being lynched – lynched by either that lot, the Liberal Democrats, or that other lot, the Conservative Back Benchers, never mind us lot in the Opposition. Ironically, the Deputy Prime Minister, who was so keen on this Bill and who directed it, has made no attempt to play a role in it. The real reason, of course, is that he is not the architect. The architect is his chum the Prime Minister, who has just walked out, now that he has seen that his friend is safe.]

Dr Julian Lewis: As the right hon. Gentleman is less than overwhelmed by the prospect of this Bill, would he care to say which Hitchcock film he has most in mind? Is it "Vertigo", "Sabotage" or "Psycho"?

[Sadiq Khan: It is all the films that have a bad ending.]

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Dr Lewis: I am sorry to make an unhelpful intervention on my hon. Friend [Eleanor Laing], whom I greatly admire, but my understanding of a deal for a coalition Government is that when a bargain is made, both sides stick to it. That is why I voted for this Bill on Second Reading, despite my objections to it. Subsequently, however, the part of the bargain that induced me to endorse the deal – namely, the fact that we were told that the Liberals would accept the renewal of the Trident strategic nuclear deterrent – was dishonoured. That is why I shall be voting against the Bill on Third Reading.