Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg introduced the second reading of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill in the Commons. It passed with a vote and will be considered further in Committee of the Whole House
Summary of the Bill
This Bill would make provision for a referendum on the voting system for parliamentary elections and provide for parliamentary elections to be held under the alternative vote system if a majority of those voting in the referendum are in favour. It would also make provision about the number and size of parliamentary constituencies.
Committee of the whole House
When a Bill passes its second reading and is considered in detail, this usually takes place in a Public Bill Committee held outside the Chamber. These Committees -which are made up of between 16 and 20 MPs - reflect the political makeup of the House, so the government always has a majority.
But occasionally a Bill will be considered by a Committee of the whole House and this discussion takes place in the Commons Chamber itself, where all MPs can take part.
Any Bill can be referred to a Committee of the whole House, but the procedure is normally reserved for finance bills and other important or controversial legislation.