CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

PRIME MINISTER – PR – 15 November 2000

Dr Julian Lewis: What his policy is on proportional representation?

The Prime Minister (Mr Tony Blair): We set out our position in October 1998, and again in June 1999, and it has not changed.

[SUPPLEMENTARY:] Why is it that the Prime Minister is so much more reticent about his position on proportional representation with Members of this House than he used to be with the former leader of the Liberal Democrats when he was trying to carve up a shady deal for a permanent Lib-Lab coalition based on PR? If he will not answer that, will he at least answer this? Will he give an assurance that he will not give his support in the future to a system based on the alternative vote – which is not even proportionate, but simply exaggerates the winning party's number of seats even more than the first-past-the-post option does?

The Prime Minister: The latter part of the hon. Gentleman's question betrayed a certain nervousness. On the first point, we have introduced proportional representation for the European elections and for elections to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. In relation to PR, however, I am not in favour of any system that breaks the link between constituency and Member of Parliament.