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