A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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Some first day
10/05/2010 23:28:00

Up to Westminster today to collect my pass and laptop, get a briefing on the new expenses system and take the first steps in recruiting staff for my constituency office.

Towards the end of the afternoon we heard that Gordon Brown had announced that he has stood down as leader of the Labour Party, though he hopes to continue as Prime Minister as the head of a Labour/Liberal Democrat/SNP/Plaid Cymru coalition until a new Labour leader is elected in the autumn.

At 6pm, David Cameron addressed the Conservative Parliamentary Party. He set out the approach he has taken to the negotiations with the Liberal Democrats to date, the remaining sticking point and received strong support for his proposal that we should offer them a referendum on whether we should switch from our first-past-the-post electoral system to the Alternative Vote (under which voters rank candidates in order of preference and, if no candidate receives 50 per cent of the first preference votes, the second preference votes of the bottom candidate are redistributed until one candidate has more than 50 per cent of the vote).

In making this offer, we are proving that we are prepared to compromise to achieve the strong, stable government that the country needs. We don't like the Altnerative Vote system but we recognise that some people don't like the current system and there is a case for settling this issue via a referendum.

Nick Clegg now needs to make up his mind.

During the campaign, he said that the party with the most votes and the most seats would have the mandate to form a government. Does he still believe that or is he now going to prop up a party that has just lost 97 seats and nearly a million votes?

He has argued that we need a strong, stable government. Does he still believe that? If so, the Parliamentary arithmetic clearly indicates that a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is far better placed to deliver it than any alternative (if, as expected, we win the delayed Thirsk & Malton by-election, it would have an effective majority of 83; a coalition of say Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and Plaid Cymru would have an effective majority of just 4 and how long would so many different parties hold together?).

Does he really think it right that we have another unelected Prime Minister?

And finally does he still think, as he said during the campaign, that there should be a referendum on any change to the electoral system? If he breaks his word on this issue (Labour are offering him Alternative Vote without a referendum), everyone will know that far from representing change, he is actually more of the same.

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Gavin Barwell, 133 Wickham Road, CR0 8TE, Tel  020 8663 8741      © Gavin Barwell  2019       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG