BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Michael Crick
« Previous | Main | Next »

Another solution if Parliament can't agree AV bill in time...

Michael Crick | 14:23 UK time, Friday, 11 February 2011

Everybody is saying that if the AV referendum is to go ahead then Parliament must pass the necessary legislation for it by Wednesday 16 February 2011. But strictly speaking that is not true.

Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act the legislation for a referendum must receive royal assent a full 10 weeks before the proposed vote.

In this case, to hold the referendum of Thursday 5 May 2011 would mean passing the bill by Thursday 24 February 2011.

The only problem is that Parliament isn't meant to be sitting then. MPs and peers start their mid-winter break next Thursday, hence the presumed deadline of Wednesday 16 February 2011.

But if Parliament can't agree the bill in time, there is another solution, of course. They could cancel their holiday.


  • Comment number 1.

    More likely to have a referendum on EU in/out, than miss the hols!

  • Comment number 2.

    Look...if that gang of "politicians" are giving us a choice for "change" then it`s a racing certainty that the outcome will mean no real change at all....and the political class getting more and more secure and wealthy as ever.

    Our major British rags to riches story is the Blairs!

    What major government or opposition policy has our "narrow populist" interests at heart?

    We live in a neoliberal (American orchestrated)virtual dictatorship...whichever way we vote....and living in Egypt begins to seem liberating by comparison!

  • Comment number 3.

    Enough of the Blairs - can't people find something new to bleat about. If you want to talk about "coining it in" see how much our current foreign minister was raking in on the after dinner circuit before he was persuaded to return to the front bench and he was just the failed leader of the opposition. Look at all those ex ministers of all parties who are directors of many companies. All top politicians make a mint when they leave politics. Why are you singling out TB? is it because he's better at it than most or because you can't stand the fact that a large part of the world rates rather highly a man you've chosen to despise? All these people prepared to pay him so much money - could your bile be a result of you realising that you are in a small minority? It would seem that they know something you don't.

  • Comment number 4.

    3 I agree with many of your remarks Psycho...but please stop disembling.

  • Comment number 5.

    MPs give up a holiday for boring politics that may benefit the people. you must be barking?

  • Comment number 6.


    TB made his rich friends through selling dodgy dossiers to the british people. Sure neocons love him cause he put their interests before the uk. He did them a favour and now gets his blood money of 30 pieces of silver.

    meanwhile we are still paying for his mistakes and have a war without end. never mind the 1 million a year it costs us to give him protection so he can cash in. does he pay that security bill? No.

    better for him to sit in a ranch in Texas because judging from his book tour that had to be cut short no one likes him here.

  • Comment number 7.

    Blair loves war, he is salivating at the thought of conflict in Iran, at Chilcot he could hardly contain his enthusiasm for armed intervention on the flimsiest of reasons but why would reason or the lack of it trouble this meglamaniac, he has scant regard for UN resolutions, legalities of war, but prefers sub plots like dodgy dossiers and 45 minute warnings cobbled together with his spin witchdoctor Campbell. In a real world the Hague would welcome both in a war crimes trial but they would probably talk their way out of it....

  • Comment number 8.


    The only way to be totally blind to Blair's damaged - and damaging - psyche, is to be hopelessly in love with him.

    Is the pseudonym a bit of a give-away?

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 9.


    The proper procedural device, is to stop the clock - and leave it stopped, having moved an 'amendment of temporal reality', to fix the day.

    With luck, some ancient edict requires Mr Speaker to remain in his chair for the entire period.

  • Comment number 10.

    "Another solution if Parliament can't agree AV bill in time ..." is the title of Michael Crick's blog.

    Alternative Vote system? I was under the illusion that Proportional Representation (PR) would be the most 'democratic', as proposed by Nick Clegg before the 2010 Election.

    Who decided there would be an AV Bill, as opposed to a PR Bill referendum?

  • Comment number 11.

    In addition - why do MPs and Lords only operate and take their holidays under the ancient and out-of-date academic/school year?

    These people are public servants, paid for by taxpayers - they don't teach, but often preach - so what entitles them to only work during term-time?!!! aaaargh!

  • Comment number 12.

    I know, persuade the Lords awkward squad to go on holiday and pretend all the rest are too, then the Gov. supporters could sneak back and pass whatever they want. Preferably themselves out of a job.
    Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 13.

    Talking of holiday cancellation. We got a rather curt e-mail from our head office (in Scotland which might be significant) to tell us we would be mistaken if we thought we were going to have the bank holiday occasioned by the royal wedding off.

    Now I appreciate that it falls at a time of year which already has far to many bank holidays already but still, insisting that people work it is bad management and has generally increased the level of anti-management distrust at a time when we're understaffed and some are having to pull in extra shifts.

    I doubt the MPs are going to miss out on their holidays however. I imagine the referendum will be put back till next year. I really don't think anyone would be bothered if it was anyway.

    PS If I hear another member of the TUC party saying the words 'Too deep, too quickly' again my life might be in danger. That is if nausea can be fatal! Despite their defeat at the last election they still seem to be convinced that we are all stupid, and blind to the truly horrendous state of our finances, and are thus still capable of being taken in by their dumbed down little catch phrases.

  • Comment number 14.

    I suspect if anyone thought this referendum was so important than someone would be recommending a holiday cancellation or postponement. Switching to the Alternative Vote (AV) electoral system may be a good idea whose time has come, but pushing a referendum would be costly (Not really my idea of a spending cut.). The AV system would require changes to or new electronic counting machines at a cost of @ £150M and voter information/education at a cost of @ £25M.
    The Coalition is attempting to push through legislation to call a national poll on May 5th.
    I suppose one should consider, however, that not having a clear winner in the last election, having a Coalition Government, means that controversial changes (e.g. reforms to NHS) are getting made and will get made, without a clear mandate from the voters. Somehow this strikes me as undemocratic and important.
    What's the great rush? Isn't the next general election 2015? (How embarrassing if I have this year wrong!)
    Now which is more important
    - the holiday
    - AV
    - implementing a system that is truly democratic?

  • Comment number 15.

    14 BB...Has it struck you that if we changed the enforced habit of the last thirty years and got BRITISH companies with BRITISH taxpaying employees to make those electronic counting machines it would be a win-win situation? Or is that racist?

    And the reason we can`t have anything "truly democratic" is very simply because we would then have to confront the uncomfortable truth that WE don`t run Britain....AND NEITHER DO "OUR" POLITICIANS!

    Washington and Wall Street are our masters and have been since the 1940`s. Get over it!

  • Comment number 16.

    I am listening to to Newsnight live right now and I, because earlier today I was asked to stump up £145.00 for my BBC TV licence, I just wanted to suggest a few things.

    SSBs are the curse of human history. By SSB I mean Self-Serving Beurocracies. Like confectionaries they come in a seductive range of enticing flavours such as superstitions, including all religions, as well as political utupian fantacists and populists, money-borrowering to win elections, or hedonistic selfist self-worshipers like our celebritities.

    The BBC, the Unite Union (who insist that the BBC ALWAYS in every report call the Conservative party TORIES(why-incitement of course)want to turn this country into a one party state where the SSBs of the TUC and those SSBs who will then be intimidated into joining them i.e. the Clergy and the Nobility will seal the downfall of this country.

    If this onslaught against the coalition continues the interest rate we, as a nation, pay in interest, on our borrowings from the creditor nations overseas that we now require to borrow more from to pay the interest due on what we've borrowed already, then our debts will rise to the point where our economic future will be determined by foreigners who are by then concerned about how we will ever be able to pay our 4.8 trillion pound debt back.

    WE ARE FINISHED. THE MORONS HAVE WON. GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN! THE BBC WILL TRANSFER IT'S MAIN BASE OF OPERATIONS FROM THE Dis-UK to the newly independant Scotland (as per the Question Time series) and Australia where the British BBC licence payers fund the watching of the same programmes by the Australians.

    We are finished, get out while you can.

  • Comment number 17.

    Why? A poor country where an established self-serving dynastic, nepotistic culture took over and became the exact opposite of the country that led the world in the development ot of the emergent scientific inovations, right up to the point where the fundamental particles, the neutrons, protons, and the electrons were discovered by our countrymen only to be left behind as the implications of their discoveries unfolded.

    Elgar's Nimrod ( available on Utube) is a requiem statement attesting to the spectacular fall of our country, that then zeroes in on the terrible sacrifice made by those the SSBs brainwashed into walking forwards into the fusillade or having your Captain shooting you dead.

    In my heart, I ask myself, if those who weren't allowed to be heros because they were going to die anyway,because if they'de turned back they would have been shot, had the chance to speak to the young people of today, what would they tell you?

  • Comment number 18.

    My uncle got the George Cross and bar...and he whispered to me one day that most gallantry was impulsive and based on a fear of being thought cowardly.His thought was that people who resist sustained torture are the truly brave people.

  • Comment number 19.


    Thanks for not pointing out that before I level the accusation that any organisation I have it in for is a SSB, it might just be a good idea to learn how to actually spell the word bureaucracy! Duh!


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.