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Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, I am happy to assist the noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy, as to where the second preference votes are going from the Labour Party according to the BBC poll. They are going to the Welsh Liberal Democrats. One would expect no less in the Welsh community.

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We have consistently supported the provision of two votes under the list system. The suggestion that the people of Wales are incapable of casting two votes has always struck me as entirely ludicrous. We are pleased that the matter has been resolved in the House of Commons and we support the Government's position.

Lord Elis-Thomas: My Lords, I am not ashamed to be standing here as everybody's second preference. I wish to congratulate my noble and learned friend the former Solicitor-General on his elevation. It seems to me that government Front Bench Ministers who are associated with the Wales Bill receive instant elevation. I can only hope that it applies to all of us, whether here or in another place.

I agree with my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford and disagree once again with the baron who shares a boundary with me in our baronies in the Conwy Valley. As we say in the valley, he is once again flogging a dead sheep. He is repeating himself in the direction, as my noble friend Lord Thomas said, of trying to assert that the people of Wales are unable to make clear, rational decisions. I shall not refer to the BBC Wales opinion poll. However, I have a feeling about its meaning wherever I go. Its meaning has interest for him and for all parties. But that is not the issue. The issue is about making democracy as inclusive as possible. I was impressed, as I often am, by the statement by my right honourable friend Mr. Ron Davies in the article in the Western Mail that has already been mentioned. He said that it was not the issue whether or not certain parties were benefiting from the poll, because the assembly itself would be inclusive. That is what the polling system is all about. It is about allowing the opportunity for people to make rational choices. Those decisions are made within the electoral system. The attempts of the noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy, and of his noble friend--who is not present because he is preparing yet again for the Scotland Bill--continually to change the electoral system are proving unsuccessful because the arguments, let alone the majority in another place, are not carrying any weight. Therefore, I am pleased that my noble friend Lord Roberts of Conwy intends not to insist on the amendment.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lords, Lord Roberts of Conwy and Lord Elis-Thomas, for their kind words of congratulations. Perhaps I may also wish the noble Lord, Lord Callaghan, and Lady Callaghan, many congratulations on their diamond wedding anniversary.

The noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy, has reiterated his views in his characteristically careful and moderate way. Those words were written down in advance of him doing so, to show the respect in which he is held by those who formerly worked for him. However, I do not believe that he brought forward any new arguments to support his case. As has been made clear throughout, following the clear statements made by the representatives of all parties in this and another place, we believe that the type of improper manipulation talked of will not occur. Attempts to deal

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with it in the form of these amendments which another place has rejected produce a much worse result than the alleged problem. I ask the House not to insist on their amendments to which the Commons have disagreed.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

LORDS AMENDMENTS

5

Clause 5, page 3, leave out lines 32 and 33.


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
5A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


6

Page 3, line 40, leave out subsection (5).


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
6A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


7

Clause 6, page 4, line 9, leave out ("electoral region") and insert ("additional member").


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
7A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


8

Page 4, line 16, leave out subsection (2).


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
8A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


9

Page 4, leave out lines 21 to 24 and insert ("for a registered political party under subsection (1)(b) is referred to in this Act as the electoral region figure for that party").


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
9A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


10

Clause 7, page 4, line 26, leave out ("or individual candidate").


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
10A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


11

Page 4, line 28, leave out ("or individual candidate").


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
11A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


12

Page 4, line 39, leave out subsection (4).


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
12A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


14

Page 5, line 6, leave out ("or individual candidates").


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--

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14A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


15

Page 5, line 13, leave out from ("figure") to end of line 15.


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
15A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


16

Page 5, line 17, leave out ("or individual candidates").


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
16A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


18

Clause 8, page 5, line 24, leave out from ("vacancy") to end of line 27 and insert ("the Assembly member for the Assembly constituency shall be returned under the simple majority system.


(3A) No election held under this section shall call into question the election of Assembly members for the Assembly electoral region in which the Assembly constituency was included at the last ordinary election.").
The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
18A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.


20

Clause 9, page 6, line 3, leave out from beginning to second ("the") in line 4.


The Commons disagreed to this amendment for the following reason--
20A

Because it would unjustifiably restrict the right of voters to choose the persons who are to be members of the National Assembly for Wales for the electoral regions.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that this House do not insist on their Amendments Nos. 5 to 12, 14 to 16, 18 and 20 en bloc to which the Commons have disagreed for the reasons numbered 5A to 12A, 14A to 16A, 18A and 20A.

Moved, That the House do not insist on their Amendments Nos. 5 to 12, 14 to 16, 18 and 20 to which the Commons have disagreed for the reasons numbered 5A to 12A, 14A to 16A, 18A and 20A.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


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