Members of the House of Lords voted against an amendment to provide a Gaelic version of the question in Scotland in the ballot paper for, during the third day of committee stage of the Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Bill on Wednesday 8 December.
The debate covered discussion of amendments to clause 1: Referendum on the alternative vote system; and clause 2: Entitlement to vote in the reference.
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, who introduced the amendment explained that there are a number of native Gaelic speakers in parts of Scotland whose first language in Gaelic and that these individuals will understand the question better in Gaelic. He went on to say that ‘Like Welsh, Gaelic is increasingly being used alongside English in Scotland’ and that ‘speakers of Scottish Gaelic should be treated in exactly the same way as Welsh speakers in Wales.’
The amendment was defeated by 196 votes to 135.
Proposals for amendments to a Bill are published in a marshalled list of amendments one day before the Bill stage takes place.
Committee stage of the Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Bill continues Monday 13 December when further amendments will be discussed.
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.
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.