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Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Aberdare, L.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B. [Teller.]
Ashbourne, L.
Balfour, E.
Balfour of Inchrye, L.
Beloff, L.
Berners, B.
Bethell, L.
Biffen, L.
Blatch, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Boardman, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Bridges, L.
Broadbridge, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Byford, B. [Teller.]
Cadman, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carrick, E.
Chorley, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Courtown, E.
Cranbrook, E.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Cumberlege, B.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Davidson, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dunleath, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Foley, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Freyberg, L.
Gainford, L.
Halsbury, E.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Holderness, L.
Hood, V.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Ilchester, E.
Ironside, L.
Jopling, L.
Kenyon, L.
Kintore, E.
Kitchener, E.
Layton, L.
Leigh, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Mersey, V.
Milverton, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Mottistone, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Munster, E.
Naseby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton, L.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Oxford, Bp.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Rees, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Russell, E.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Savile, L.
Sharples, B.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Sudeley, L.
Swansea, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Tenby, V.
Teviot, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Warnock, B.
Weatherill, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Avebury, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Calverley, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gallacher, L.
Geraint, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Glenamara, L.
Goodhart, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Ludford, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Ogmore, L.
Orme, L.
Peston, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Sainsbury, L.
St. Davids, V.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stallard, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thurso, V.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

1 Jul 1998 : Column 687

Clause 5 [Party lists and individual candidates]:

4.17 p.m.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 5:


Page 3, line 24, at end insert (", provided that there is a candidate of the party in each Assembly constituency included in that Assembly electoral region.

1 Jul 1998 : Column 688


(1A) A registered political party shall submit a list of candidates to be Assembly members for each Assembly electoral region in which there is a candidate of the party in at least one of the Assembly constituencies included in that Assembly electoral region.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, if your Lordships thought that the previous argument was complicated I regret to say that this is even more so. However, that is the problem with proportional representation in its various forms. In moving Amendment No. 5, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9. All are variations of a way of dealing with a matter which all Members who spoke in Committee agreed was a problem. I apologise to noble Lords who were present in Committee for repeating the argument, but I do so for the sake of those who were not present and in order to remind ourselves of the problem.

In the system of additional member seats there are two votes. One is for the constituency and the other is for the list for the region. Calculations are made following the d'Hondt system (named after the mathematician who devised it) to determine how many of the four seats additionally available each party should receive. Those seats are then given to the appropriate party and thus an attempt is made--although not a good attempt in the case of four additional member seats--to introduce proportionality into the total system. The additional member proposal in the Welsh and Scottish systems leads to the proportionality.

I can best illustrate the problem by sharing with your Lordships a little trick which the Conservative Party could have played in the Wales North Euro seat in the 1992 elections. On the first-past-the-post wins in that seat, the Labour Party gained four, the Conservatives gained two, the Liberal Democrats none and Plaid Cymru two. If one assumes that the first and second votes are the same--that may not turn out to be true but one must make that assumption for the sake of the illustration--when the d'Hondt system is calculated, the Labour Party gets one additional member, the Conservatives two, the Liberal Democrats one and Plaid Cymru none. So the total is five for Labour, four for the Conservatives, one for the Liberal Democrats and two for Plaid Cymru.

However, if the Conservatives decided to stand as Conservatives in the constituency ballot but to register another party called, for example, the Welsh unionist party--and under the Registration of Political Parties Bill that is possible--and in the second ballot the Welsh Conservative Party does not stand at all but the Welsh unionist party does, Conservatives, being intelligent people, would understand that they should vote unionist in that second ballot and proceed to do so. When the d'Hondt system is then applied, the Labour Party wins no additional seats; the unionists win three additional seats; the Liberal Democrats win one; and Plaid Cymru wins none. Therefore, the Conservatives and unionists together in the Welsh Assembly, instead of having four seats under the system which I mentioned first, would gain an extra seat and win five seats. There would be considerable advantage to the Conservative Party in doing so.

1 Jul 1998 : Column 689

If one takes the last election and still uses the Wales North Euro seat and splits the Labour Party into the Labour Party for the first ballot and the co-operative party for the other ballot, this is what would happen. At the last election the Labour Party gained six first-past-the-post seats; the Conservative Party gained none; the Liberal Democrats none; and Plaid Cymru gained two. On the additional member system seat without split parties, the Labour Party would gain no more seats; the Conservatives would gain three; the Liberal Democrats would gain one and Plaid Cymru would gain none. Therefore, Labour would end up with six seats all from first-past-the-post while the Conservatives would win three seats, all from the additional member system; the Liberal Democrats would win one seat from the additional member system; and Plaid Cymru would have the two that it won from the first-past-the-post.

However, the Labour Party may decide to register the co-operative party as a separate party, which in my view is perfectly possible under the Registration of Political Parties Bill, and stand in the second ballot. The electorate would understand perfectly well what was happening and would probably approve because it gives advantage to one's own party. When the d'Hondt system was used, the co-operative party would gain three additional member seats; the Conservatives would gain one; the Liberal Democrats would gain none; and Plaid Cymru would gain none. Therefore, the Labour Party would end up with nine seats for that area, the Conservatives one, Plaid Cymru two and the Liberal Democrats none, as opposed to six, three, two and one if the system were carried out fairly and properly.

As I said in Committee, that is not something which has been devised by me. This is a suggestion first brought to the attention of the political parties by Dr. Dyer of Aberdeen University who did the calculations and put out the suggestion in the Scottish context with regard to the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party. But in the other place on the Welsh Bill the question was raised and Mr. Win Griffiths said:


    "I concede that there may be scope for collusion between and within parties to exploit the two-ballot structure of the additional member system in the manner that he described. Such cynical manipulation of the system would be an affront to the electorate and would undermine the democratic credibility of the elected body".--[Official Report, 2/3/98; col. 804.]
I am not sure that I totally agree with him as regards that last sentence.

In Committee, all noble Lords who spoke accepted that the scenario which I painted could come about. I had cast-iron assurances, which I accept, from the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, that the Labour Party would not do anything like that. The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, gave assurances that the Liberal Democrats would not do anything like that, as did the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, on behalf of Plaid Cymru. I gave assurances that the Conservative Party would not do that. But the blunt fact of the matter is that four honest gentlemen as we may be, we shall not be there for ever and somebody in the future may decide to overturn our pledges and to use that trick.

1 Jul 1998 : Column 690

What I have suggested is a way to link the first and second ballot together so that parties can stand in one and not in the other. I have put forward various different methods. The first is what I shall describe as the hardest method, which is that you can only stand in the list if you stand in every constituency that makes up the Euro seat, and if you stand in one constituency in the Euro seat you must put forward a list. Therefore, it links both ways: it links the first vote to the second vote; and links the second vote back to the first. That is the hardest test.

I have then made an alternative suggestion because I recognise that the Greens may not wish to contest all the first-past-the-post constituencies yet may want to be on the list. Therefore, I have provided that any party which is on the list must contest at least one. Conversely, if a party contests at least one, it must put forward a list.

In Amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8, I have suggested that if one stands in one-quarter of the constituencies, one must put forward a list and if one puts forward a list, one must stand in one-quarter. I have then provided the same in relation to one-half and three-quarters. I have done that in a genuine attempt to find a way to prevent that ever happening in future. I look forward to hearing what the Government think about that.

If the Government are unable to accept any of those variations, I hope that between now and Third Reading they will turn their attention to finding a solution to that problem which goes somewhat beyond guarantees given by the three noble Lords whom I mentioned and myself. It is not good enough to introduce a new electoral system which is capable of being manipulated and not do something to prevent that manipulation. I beg to move.


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