Topical Question: Parliamentary Reform
Shailesh Vara asks why the Government is wasting time debating voting systems insteaad of concentrating on Parliamentary reform.
Mr. Shailesh Vara (North-West Cambridgeshire) (Con): Will the Justice Secretary kindly explain why we will be wasting time today debating the alternative voting system rather than all the proposals of the Wright Committee report? We ought to debate them all instead of simply selected items in due course, as the Government propose. We need to discuss the whole report; why are we not debating it?
Mr. Straw: The Opposition are Johnny-come-latelies to the issue of parliamentary reform-[Hon. Members: "Rubbish!"] It is true. It was my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister who ensured that the suggestion from our hon. Friend the Member for Cannock Chase (Dr. Wright) to establish a Committee was implemented. We have wholeheartedly welcomed the report. There will be a full day's debate on the whole report and there will then be votes on it. If the hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire (Mr. Vara) has concerns about the items on the Order Paper, my strong advice to him is to talk to his Chief Whip before he next stands up and makes pronouncements about it.