§ Dr. Alan Glyn (Windsor and Maidenhead)
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I beg leave to present a petition about proportional representation from the constituency that I have the honour to represent, but I disagree with the prayer and proportional representation:Wherefore your petitioners pray that Parliament should prepare a Bill for future elections to be held by proportional representation and should hold a referendum to give the people a choice between this reform Bill and the preservation of the present system.I disagree with the petition, but I beg leave to present it on behalf of those of my constituents who adhere to this view.
§ To lie upon the Table.9.38 am
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins (Glasgow, Hillhead)
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I beg leave to present a petition similar to that presented by the hon. Member for Windsor and Maidenhead (Dr. Glyn), but I do so with slightly more enthusiasm.
§ Mr. Jenkins
No, it is not newly acquired. I presented a paper on it in Cabinet during the first week that I became Home Secretary.
This petition is one of the most widely supported presented to the House. The petitions that I and other hon. Members who have been associated with the campaign are presenting today are only the tip of the iceberg. Many hundreds of thousands of signatures have been presented locally in the constituencies to individual hon. Members and will no doubt reach the House in due course. A proportion of the signatures, however, were gathered together centrally, and as a small symbol of them I am presenting these two this morning. Whenever an election is held, whether it be for this House, for the European Parliament or for a local authority—when such elections are allowed to be held—it drives home the distorting effects of our present system. It turns minorities into false majorities. It is unfair not so much to a particular party as to the voters of this country. That is why the petition is signed in such numbers.
§ To lie upon the Table.9.41 am
§ Mr. Robin Squire (Hornchurch)
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, may I also beg to present petitions on the lines previously outlined by right hon. and hon. Members? The petitions are drawn from within my own constituency, Hornchurch, and neighbouring constituencies, Romford and Upminster.
As previous speakers have said, the petitions—there are 1 million or more signatures—represent a strong demand from all over the country for a change in the voting system.
The petitions have my full support and the support of many of my right hon. and hon. Friends who are here this morning.
§ To lie upon the Table.