Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Cabinet won't blink first on AV marathon debate

While the Lords marathon session on the AV Bill continues a "no surrender" message has just emerged from this morning's cabinet meeting.

Labour peers in the Lords have been talking all night and will go on through today and tomorrow to talk out May's proposed AV referendum. If the bill does not get through the Lords this week then the arrangements for a 5th May date for the referendum, the same day as the Scottish parliament elections, will not be possible.

Some Scottish peers are particularly enraged by the clash of dates but what Labour really wants is further scrutiny of the changes to the constituency boundaries, a Tory move to cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600, which is coupled to the AV bill.

"The cabinet was absolutely clear and united that we would not be splitting the bill," the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman told us at the morning lobby. In other words we're not blinking first.

The PMOS wouldn't be drawn on whether the government will guillotine the debate - set a time limit on it - which would be "unprecedented" on a constitutional bill and cause a huge fuss at Westminster but few ripples in the country at large.

Meanwhile Neil Kinnock is on his feet just now - it's going to be a long day's night.

No comments:

Post a Comment