AV referendum wording published

By politics.co.uk staff

The government has published the wording of the referendum on voting reform.

Voters will be asked: “Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the ‘alternative vote’ system instead of the current ‘first past the post’ system for electing members of parliament to the House of Commons?”

The referendum will take place on May 5th next year.

The parliamentary voting system and constituencies bill also contains plans on how to reduce the number of MPs in the Commons from 650 to 600.

Another bill published today, the fixed term parliament bill, will set the date for a general election for the first time in British history.

The constitutional reform project is central to Nick Clegg’s agenda in government, and the deputy prime minister needs to show firm results from his decision to join the Tories to stop the gradual disintegration of Lib Dem support in the polls.

The Conservatives will oppose a change to AV, while the Lib Dems will support it.

Labour put a pledge to conduct a referendum on AV in its election manifesto, but it has problems with the timing of the referendum and it is still not clear if it will campaign for a ‘yes’ vote.

Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, commented: “Our priority is making sure that everyone who goes to the polls on May 5th can cast their vote safely and easily whether it’s in an election, a referendum or both.

“It is possible to successfully deliver these different polls on May 5th, but only if the risks associated with doing so are properly managed. We’ve set out what we think these risks are and will make it clear during the passage of the bill if we do not feel they have been adequately addressed.”