‘Alternative Vote’ Bill

03 February 2011

Members of the Lords debated the final day of committee stage, day 17, of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – ‘Alternative vote’ Bill on 2 February.  Report stage - further line by line examination of the Bill - starts on Monday 7 February.

Committee stage: day 17

Members discussed amendments covering the referendum and the alternative vote system during the final, and seventeenth, day of committee stage on the Bill.

Committee stage: day 16

The House of Lords sat until 9.51pm debating the 16th day of committee stage. Members discussed amendments 108 - 122, covering provisions and rules for the referendum. 

Committee stage: day 15

The House of Lords sat until 10.09pm on Monday 31 January debating the 15th day of committee stage.

Members of the Lords discussed a range of amendments within clauses 12-18 covering Boundary Commission proposals and provisions for the referendum.

Committee stage: day 14

The House of Lords sat until 11.48pm on Wednesday 26 January debating the 14th day of committee stage.

Members of the Lords discussed amendments 89BA to 93 to Clause 11: Number and distribution of seats.

Committee stage: day 14

The House of Lords sat until 11.48pm on Wednesday 26 January debating the 14th day of committee stage.

Members of the Lords discussed amendments 89BA to 93 to Clause 11: Number and distribution of seats.

Committee stage: day 13

The House of Lords sat until 11.25pm on Tuesday 25 January continuing to debate the 13th day of the committee stage, among the highest number of days in committee on a Bill.  Members of the Lords discussed amendments 75 to 89BZA to Clause 11: Number and distribution of seats. Amendments 89 and 89BZA were agreed to without a vote.

The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill’s committee stage has been debated in the House of Lords for 86 hours and 38 minutes so far.

To date, a total of 269 amendments have been tabled at committee. The record for amendments tabled at committee stage is 1,307 for the Greater London Authority Bill during the 1998-99 session.

The total time spent on the Bill until today is 98 hours and 14 minutes.

The two ‘closure motions’ in the House of Lords – a vote to require the House to make a decision on an amendment under discussion – during the debate on the Bill are unprecedented. According to the available records, there have only been six or seven closure motions since 1900.

The vote agreeing to the closure motion proposed by Lord Trefgarne on Monday 17 January, on the ninth day in committee was the first since 1971, forty years ago, on the Industrial Relations Bill when the House of Lords sat for a record 18 days in committee. The vote to agree a second closure motion – proposed by Lord Thomas of Gresford during the 11th day of the committee stage, on the morning of Wednesday 21 January – was unique. This is the first time that two closure motions have been voted on and agreed to during the same stage, as well as during debate on a single Bill.

Committee stage: day 12

Members of the Lords debated the committee stage of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – ‘Alternative vote’ Bill – for the 12th day on Monday 24 January, making this the longest sitting in the chamber of a committee of the whole House since the 2008-09 during the debate on the marine and Coastal Access Bill, which sat for 11 days. A Grand Committee on the Companies Act sat for 13 days during the 2005-06 session.

Members of the Lords continued debating amendments to Clause 11: Number and distribution of seats.

Further information

The Bill provides for the next General Election to be held under the Alternative Vote system, provided this change is endorsed in a referendum on 5 May 2011 and boundary changes have been made to reduce the size of the House of Commons to 600.

The House of Lords sat for more than 20 hours debating the ninth day of the committee stage and for more than 12 hours debating the 11th day. On both days Members of the Lords voted to agree ‘closure motions’ to force decisions on the amendments that were being debated.

Committee stage involves the detailed line-by-line examination of the separate parts – clauses and schedules – of the Bill. Any Member of the Lords can take part.

Committee stage can last for one or two days to eight or more. It usually starts no fewer than two weeks after the second reading.

Image: iStockphoto

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